BYU Wins Holy War

BYU Wins Holy War
George, like Collie and Harline before him, is now still open!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Carlos Boozer MIA: Utah Jazz Need More Production from Boozer in Playoffs

Boozer hasn't been awful in the first three games, but if the Jazz want to go deep in the playoffs Boozer needs to step up his game...

In game one of last year's playoff series between the Jazz and the Rockets, Boozer was a non-factor scoring just 11 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Those are solid numbers for a role player, but not for a star. The TNT post game crew after seeing this performance called out Boozer, saying he needed to step up his game. What was Boozer's response last year? Game two he put 41 points on the board, against Yao Ming!

Fast forward to the playoffs this year. Once again the Jazz are battling the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. What is Boozer averaging for the playoffs through three games? 16.5 points and 11.5 rebounds a game. A huge step down from last year when he averaged 24.7 points and 11 rebs. There is no Yao Ming on the court, instead he is facing an older slower Mutombo. There are more weapons on the floor for the Jazz, but generally that opens up the floor more for Boozer. Boozer needs to step up in the series and take contol, because currently he is Missing in Action(MIA) in the series.

The Utah Jazz are up 2-1 in the series despite of the poor performance from their lone All-Star. The difference? The team is just better this season. Andrei Kirilenko is playing on the court as opposed to sulking in the corner. Okur is actually scoring this year, now that he doesn't have the task of trying to stop Yao Ming on the defensive end. Williams, despite playing injured, is carrying the team on his back. Plus, the bench is giving the team a lift. Yet, all of those points would be null and void if Boozer doesn't start to play much better.

One couldn't blame the entire loss last night on Boozer. The Jazz still had a chance to the win the game, despite another poor outing and poor free throw shooting; however, if Boozer would have shown up and given a Boozer like performance the out come would have been much different. So, what does Boozer need to do to turn things around?

He needs to demand the ball in the key! Boozer only took 11 shots last night. Of those only four were taken in the key, and he converted on three of four of those attempts. Making him 3 for 7 outside of the paint. His is very efficient at getting to the rim, and getting to the free throw line when he forces the issue in the paint. Yet, it seem this series that he is relying far to much on his outside jump shot. When Boozer does get position under the basket his teammates aren't looking for him. Boozer was wide open twice, when Williams had the ball late and they were looking to to take the lead late in the game, and he didn't get the basketball. If the Jazz want to win, they can't play that way. They need to give Boozer the ball!

Hopefully it won't take Kenny and Charles challenging Boozer again before he starts playing in the post season. Hopefully he will make the necessary changes on his own. Yet, until that takes place Boozer is still MIA in the playoffs.

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