Boozer does his best to maintain positive attitude
Carlos Boozer had an all-inclusive answer ready for questions pertaining to his diminishing production, whether or not he's getting enough touches and if he's completely healthy.
"We win. Who cares about stats?" Boozer said following Monday's victory over New Orleans. "All I want to do is win. The rest of it will take care of itself."
Should we believe him?
Well, Boozer clearly isn't a pouter. He has a loud, booming voice that matches his personality, and since joining the Bulls he has been an enthusiastic cheerleader, even when sidelined by a broken hand.
He also has a healthy perspective on life that was visible after the Bulls' victory Sunday at Miami. It was impossible to miss the three adorable young boys, all sporting No. 5 Bulls jerseys, running through the aisles after the game.
"There's a lot of wrestling, a lot of broken furniture," Boozer said.
They are Boozer's three sons -- Carmani and twins Cayden and Cameron. They're living in Miami this season with their mother, CeCe, but Carlos makes every effort to make sure he spends plenty of time with them.
During his time with the Boston Celtics, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau built a strong belief in giving his players days off.
So the Bulls have skipped more practice days than under previous coaches. Boozer takes advantage by hiring a private jet to fly him to Miami and back at every opportunity.
"I'll fly down right after the game is over, hang out all day, fly back early the next morning and meet (the team) at practice," he said. "If we didn't have to leave to go to Charlotte (Tuesday), I'd fly down there right now.
"I've been fortunate. They come up here every two weeks for three or four days. This is the first year we've been apart, so it's very difficult."
It wouldn't be fair to say Boozer has invested more time in his three kids, but he has done more worrying than the typical parent.
Carmani was born with a severe case of sickle cell anemia, an inherited disease that produces abnormal red blood cells and can cause clotting, among many other complications. His symptoms began after just a few months.
Carlos and CeCe weighed the options and took advantage of modern medical science to help Carmani lead a normal life. They used in vitro fertilization to find a genetic match and after the twins were born, the stem cells were used for a bone-marrow transplant.
That was almost four years ago and everything has been fine.
"He's completely healthy, doing great, thank God," Boozer said of Carmani. "They've never had a kid that young go through the bone marrow transplant, so they're still following up, seeing how he's doing.
"He's only 4 years old. They've never had a kid that did it and had his whole life to live. It's exciting. I'm happy he's completely healthy."
Boozer's production has gone from 20.6 points and 9.7 rebounds in December to 13.5 points and 8.8 boards so far in March. He's wearing a sleeve on his right calf, and it looks like he doesn't have the same lift he did early in the season.
But Boozer is believable when he says everything is great. Thibodeau, on the other hand, offered some suggestions on how the Bulls could take better advantage of their prized free-agent addition.
"Looking at his numbers over the last 10 games, they're down a little bit," Thibodeau said. "But a big part of that is what (opponents) are doing with the double teams. So we have to find different ways to get him the ball.
"The thing I do like is how efficient he's been. When a double-team does come, he without hesitation will move the ball. Often times he doesn't get an assist because it goes to the top and gets swung to the weak side.
"But it's the right play and it makes us a very efficient offensive team and those become high-percentage shots."
Making efficient use of his time has become Boozer's specialty.