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updated: 11/10/2013 8:19 PM

Bulls' Boozer feeling anything but blue

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  • Carlos Boozer is averaging a team-high 18.2 points per game and is shooting .597 from the field.

      Carlos Boozer is averaging a team-high 18.2 points per game and is shooting .597 from the field.
    Associated Press

  • Carlos Boozer, right, goes to the basket against Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors (15) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.

      Carlos Boozer, right, goes to the basket against Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors (15) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013.
    Associated Press

 
 

These are good times for Carlos Boozer.

While the Bulls are off to a shaky 2-3 start, he's played very well. Boozer is the team's top scorer at 18.2 points per game. He started Sunday ranked fifth in the league in field-goal percentage at .597.

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Then, the next two days at the United Center are practically a Duke extravaganza. The Bulls lead the league in Dukies, with Boozer, Luol Deng and Mike Dunleavy on the roster.

Monday will feature the first NBA matchup between Derrick Rose and Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, another former Duke player. This is Irving's third pro season, but because of injuries to both players, they've never played in the same game.

Then on Tuesday, Duke will be in the house, taking on Kansas as part of a college basketball doubleheader at the UC. Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski is a well-known Chicago native, as is freshman phenom Jabari Parker.

"I'm excited to see the new team play," Boozer said Sunday at the Berto Center. "I heard they've got a lot of talent. Obviously, Jabari has got a lot of notoriety, especially being from Chicago. It will be fun watching him and (Kansas freshman Andrew) Wiggins get down."

There's another Duke-Bulls connection. This summer, coach Tom Thibodeau joined Krzyzewski's staff with the U.S. national team. The two coaches are set to work together at next year's world championships and the 2016 Olympics.

Boozer said he spoke to Krzyzewski about Thibodeau.

"I said one thing you both have in common, other than just wanting to win really bad, is the preparation," Boozer said. "Both of those guys prepare at the highest level to try to compete and win. Coach K had that same regimen. He'd watch tape for hours.

"(Thibodeau's) defensive schemes work in any league anywhere in the world. They have some great chemistry."

The Bulls' chemistry hasn't been a strength this season. Their starting lineup has never played together before the season opener in Miami.

But Boozer has found his way to a fast start, even though he's been adjusting to the return of Rose.

"I love playing with Derrick," he said. "We have fun. He takes so much pressure on himself and makes the game so much easier for the rest of us, because he can do so much.

"Don't let the stats fool you. Don't let people talk to you with their theories. We all benefit from Derrick being on the floor with us."

The Bulls (2-3) got back on the right track with an easy win over winless Utah on Friday. After playing Cleveland, they'll get another three-day break and a chance to keep working in practice.

"You get chemistry from working together and practicing together and playing together," Thibodeau said. "We didn't do that in the preseason. Now we've gotten guys back and we have to keep working."

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com

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