Every Bulls fan on the planet is aware that Brian Scalabrine replaced Carlos Boozer in the final minute of Wednesday’s loss to Indiana.
Neil Hayes had an excellent article today in the Sun-Times in which he reported that Boozer was somewhat surprised to be taken out of the game:
“Why am I out?” Those were the words Carlos Boozer mouthed to an assistant coach after being replaced by Brian Scalabrine with the Bulls trailing 92-89 with 57 seconds left in Wednesday night’s loss to the Pacers at the United Center.
Not only was the Bulls’ third-leading scorer and top rebounder being replaced during a critical moment of a game against a division rival, but backup power forward Taj Gibson was unavailable with a high ankle sprain. That meant coach Tom Thibodeau thought Option C — Scalabrine — gave the Bulls a better chance of getting a stop than leaving Boozer on the floor.
“Why am I out?” The answer was obvious. He was being replaced by the little-used Scalabrine for defensive purposes.
Apparently it was obvious to everyone on the planet but Carlos. Seriously, did he forget what a great matador imitation he had been doing all night?
Boozer sat out a few fourth quarters earlier in the year, but he never said anything (as far as anyone knows). Maybe that was different because Taj was playing in his place, and Taj is a starting-caliber PF in the league.
But being pulled for Scalabrine? A guy who usually never leaves the bench except for late in blowouts?
I posted on Chicago Bulls Confidential the next morning that “I think the White Mamba was out there to send a message to Boozer- Carlos was simply atrocious last night, worse defense than usual”.
If Thibs really was trying to send a message, I think it’s safe to say “message received”.
I’ve usually stood up for Boozer- as Hayes pointed out in his article, Boozer is who he’s always been. If he’s not who some fans thought he was, it’s because their expectations were unrealistic, not because his game has changed any since he got to Chicago.
Tonight should be very interesting- Taj is expected to play, and let’s just see if Boozer puts out a little extra effort on defense.