The forthcoming Eastern Conference finals between the Bulls and Heat should be full of compelling stories, whether they involve star players or young coaches looking to make a serious mark on the NBA landscape. One of the most compelling matchups involves two high-profile members of the free-agent class of 2010, both power forwards.
Carlos Boozer(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes) went to new teams last summer hoping to team with other stars to form great teams. Each has met that destination, but there's been some rocky terrain along the way. In a way, they are kindred spirits.
Give Boozer credit. Even with the game, over he did have one more shot to take, and it wasn't with a ball in his hand.
Asked about facing Miami's Big Three, he responded, "They have two great players in D. Wade and LeBron. We look forward to the challenge.''
I'm not entirely sure that Boozer deserves credit for this comment, if only because he's been worse than Bosh in these playoffs against arguably worse competition. Whereas Bosh has put up averages of 16.3 ppg (45 percent from the field) and 9.6 rpg, Boozer has only averaged 11.8 ppg (44.5 percent shooting) and 9.5 rpg, albeit in fewer minutes. Boozer is playing better of late, but his lack of relative scoring has put even more of a burden on Derrick Rose(notes), already the most important offensive player for his team. Bosh hasn't been stellar, but Boozer's slight shows a surprising lack of self-awareness. He hasn't been so great either.
Beyond Bosh's unkind words, the bigger issue here is that both of these power forwards face a serious test in this series. In addition to guarding each other, Boozer and Bosh are expected to be difference makers for their teams. Whoever loses can expect to get a good amount of criticism for their team's dismissal from the playoffs. They're playing for bragging rights, too.
It's a weird battle, and Boozer's comment is the first shot fired. Look for more intrigue between the two in the next week or two.