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updated: 4/19/2011 12:55 AM

Boozer rebounds nicely with a solid Game 2 performance

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  • Carlos Boozer works his way around Josh McRoberts in the second quarter of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoff series Monday at the United Center.

       Carlos Boozer works his way around Josh McRoberts in the second quarter of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoff series Monday at the United Center.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer


Two minutes into Game 2 on Monday night, Carlos Boozer received the ball in the post and lowered his shoulder as if he planned to plant the Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough into the first row of photographers.

You know, as if to warn Hansbrough that he wouldn't win the power forward war for the second game in a row.

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But when Hansbrough negated the power move by ripping the ball out of Boozer's hands and flying downcourt, one wondered how Boozer would handle it.

Turned out there wasn't much reason to worry at all -- at least about Boozer -- as the Bulls fought for a 96-90 win over Indiana.

Boozer piled up 17 points and 16 rebounds compared to Hansbrough's 6 points and 6 rebounds.

In Game 1, Boozer managed just 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Hansbrough stacked up 22 points.

"The big thing is that he was more aggressive because he wasn't in foul trouble," said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. "His rebounding was great."

Boozer needed less than a quarter to beat his Game 1 rebounding total, which set the tone for a 57-33 Bulls landslide on the boards.

"It's frustrating," Hansbrough said. "We've got to find a way to get (Joakim) Noah and Boozer and even other guys off the boards. It's very frustrating."

Almost as irksome to him as the inability to hit a shot.

Hansbrough riddled the Bulls with 22 points in the final 29 minutes of Game 1, but he never found the range with the 17-foot jumpers that worked so well Saturday.

"I thought they would come out and defend me a little different," Hansbrough said. "I think at the start they did, but then toward the end I noticed they were playing the same style."

Thibodeau thought Hansbrough missed some open looks, but that wasn't the case down the stretch.

Hansbrough tried to get going inside in the second half once he realized his jumper wasn't going, but Joakim Noah rejected one try. Then, when Hansbrough isolated Boozer in the post, the officials called him for traveling.

That inspired the 300-level faithful to start chanting "Hansbrough s----!"

Hansbrough finished 2 of 12 from the field.

"We did a good job," Boozer said. "But again, I think we can do a better job on defense."

Boozer wasn't just a menace to Hansbrough. He did much of the dirty work inside that forced Indiana big men Roy Hibbert, Jeff Foster and Josh McRoberts each to pick up 3 first-half fouls.

Alas, Boozer didn't do much to capitalize on those fouls. The 70.1 percent free-throw shooter during the regular season hit just 3 of 7 free throws in the first half and finished 5 of 9 for the game.

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