DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Aside from keeping Derrick Rose upright and on the floor, the Chicago Bulls know that the single biggest key to a Game 5 series-clinching victory is getting Carlos Boozer back on track.
"Carlos is going to be fine," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said after Monday's practice. "What we got to do with Carlos is we got to eliminate the fouls that put him on the bench. So when he's out there, he's rebounding at a very high level. And he gives us a post presence.
"When we're playing inside-out, that does a number of things for us. It allows us to really set our defense in getting back and get better shots, but when he's out of the game, we don't have that post presence that he gives us and we miss that. The ball has to get into the paint whether it's through penetration by Derrick or the post-up by Carlos, we got to play inside-out. That's how you win in the playoffs."
Thibodeau's players think that Boozer will have a breakout game soon.
"Booz will stay confident," Rose said. "He never changes that. He's been in the league a long time … a veteran, knows his game, and his game is going to come along where a couple of shots gets him going, rebounding, whatever. We're definitely going to look for him to score the ball more."
Closing things down: Rose relayed the Bulls’ general attitude following Saturday's Game 4 loss.
"We were definitely mad we didn't win the last game," Rose said. "We could of had these days to rest and really prepare for the next team. But in the playoffs, anything can happen. They came out and played a great game. Guys were knocking down shots, played good, and we just got to try to finish it here."
To that point, Rose is excited to see what the crowd looks like at the United Center on Tuesday night.
"I can't wait to see it," Rose said. "It's going to be nice. It's going to be a nice environment, where it's going to be rowdy. They're definitely going to be cheering for us. Our fan base has been crazy on the road, where we're playing [away] and it seems like we're at home. So I can only imagine how the building's going to be [Tuesday]."
Bulls center Joakim Noah doesn't think his teammates will be too geared up to focus on the goal in front of them.
"You can get over-hyped any time you play in the United Center because we have the best crowd," he said. "It's always an over-hyped atmosphere. There's nothing wrong with being over-hyped."
No matter how the crowd responds, Noah is just happy to be healthy again. He is feeling better than he has in weeks.
"At the end of the season I had a tennis ball on my ankle so I wasn't moving right," Noah said. "It's tough to play through injuries. It's not something you want to go through. Just feeling the pressure of playing injured, especially at the end of the year, it's frustrating. But I'm feeling healthier and healthier, and it's an exciting time of year."
No lineup changes: Thibodeau chuckled when asked if he would consider adding Kyle Korver to the starting lineup to give his offense more of an early spark..
"We're not changing," Thibodeau said. "We got to this point by playing a certain way. We have a good rotation. We feel good about our bench, and we just have to do the things we should do. And we're not going to change who we are."
Korver wants his teammates to remember that attitude if Rose isn't 100 percent healthy, as expected. He just wants them to play their game.
"We don't need anyone to feel like they got to make up for Derrick if he's not 100 percent," Korver said. "Someone feels like they got to take more shots, or got to be more aggressive. We all got to be more aggressive, but it doesn't mean we've got to go one-on-one. We've just got to work it as a team."
The last word: In case there was any doubt the Indiana Pacers had earned the Bulls respect during this series, here was Noah's response when asked about the Pacers’ big men.
"Their bigs are tough. Their guards are tough. Their point guards are tough. They're good."