Boozer, Chalmers set for NBA playoffs (Basketball)
The good news for Juneau’s Carlos Boozer is that he has helped the Utah Jazz make the NBA playoffs in four consecutive seasons.
The bad news is that Utah’s postseason run keeps getting shorter and shorter. Three years ago the Jazz lost in the Western Conference Finals. Two years ago they were eliminated in the second round. Last year they were knocked out in the first round.
This year Utah is seeded No. 5 and will open the best-of-7 series at No. 4 Denver on Saturday, and even though Boozer missed some games late in the regular season because of a slight muscle tear along his rib cage, he will be in the starting lineup for Game 1.
Boozer, a two-time Alaska high school player of the year at Juneau-Douglas, ranked fifth in the NBA in rebounding (11.2) to go along with 19.5 points and 3.2 assists in 78 games. The 6-foot-9 power forward was sixth in shooting percentage (.652) from the floor.
For his career, the two-time All-Star carries 20/12 playoff averages in 34 games.
Turning to the Eastern Conference, Anchorage’s Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat are back in the playoffs, looking to bounce back from last year’s Game 7 loss in the first round.
The No. 5 Heat will play Game 1 Saturday at No. 4 Boston, which hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy just two years ago.
Chalmers, a three-time Alaska prep player of the year at Bartlett High, averaged 7.1 points and 3.4 assists in 73 games this season.
The second-year, 6-foot-1 point guard ranked fifth in the NBA with 2.4 steals per 48 minutes, despite coming off the bench. He lost his starting job midway through the season.
Chalmers’ defensive assignment will be to slow down hard-to-guard Celtics playmaker Rajon Rondo.