Boy, that Scottie Pippen guy is sure on a roll. Earlier Friday, Pippen said that Miami Heat forward LeBron James "may be the greatest player to ever play the game," better even than Pippen's former teammate, Michael Jordan.
Later Friday, in comments made to ESPNChicago.com, Pippen aimed his guns at Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer, who he feels let Chicago down in the big moments of the Eastern Conference finals.
"For us to think the Bulls are going to go farther when your high-priced players are not going to carry you and finish games for you ... you're not talking about a championship team.The flagrant foul that Pippen is talking about occurred when Boozer swiped at LeBron James' face 5 with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter of Game 5. At the time, Chicago was up by 11 points, but the Heat immediately went on an 8-2 run. Here's a look at the video. It was an inane decision on Boozer's part and worthy of criticism.
"You can't hide at this stage of the season. At this point, you have to be able to play through everything because if you're trying to hide a guy or a guy is not performing for you, it's going to show offensively in the playoffs and it's going to be magnified ... We all know Carlos did not play at the level the team needed him to and that that hurt them more than anything because they couldn't rely on him.
"The flagrant foul, the pushing calls, the inability to finish strong around the basket. Now you're a liability. We can't hide you and now we have to take you out of the game."
The venom in these statements suggests that Pippen's angst over Boozer has been bottling up for some time. That's no surprise: a vast majority of Bulls fans likely feel the same way. Boozer was the team's big catch last summer and it was clear throughout the playoffs that he simply wasn't going to be the superstar-type impact player that his salary suggests he should be. That's always going to get people worked up.
Prior to the start of the Eastern Conference finals, I took a look at what was at stake for Boozer, writing...
Despite the fact that he continues to keep his rebounding near double figures, he’s a running punch line and punching bag for Bulls fans, who obviously expected more from their $80 million man... So what’s at stake for Boozer here? Given that this is Chicago’s first playoff run together and doubts are already high, he just doesn’t have much to lose. If he throws together a big series, the United Center fans that were booing him earlier during the playoffs will surely rally around him. If not, he was the bad guy anyway.And that's exactly where we are right now. People expected Boozer to fail. He failed. That frustrated people. But that was to be expected, so Boozer probably won't lose much sleep over it. He should be used to disappointing people by now.
As for Pippen? Pass the mic and take a month off to chill out.