Boozer keying Bulls' current surge

Carlos Boozer had 27 points and 12 rebounds in a victory over the Heat on Friday. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Winners of three straight and four of their past five games, the surging Chicago Bulls have been led recently in large part by Carlos Boozer.

The Bulls' second-highest paid player and frequent target of fan criticism, Boozer might be on the best five-game stretch of his career. He has recorded a double-double in each of those games -- highlighted by a 27-point, 12-rebound performance in a victory over the Miami Heat on Friday -- and has a chance to be the first Bull since Joakim Noah in 2009 to post six straight double-doubles on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

He has been even more effective in his past three games, averaging 27.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and shooting 60 percent from the field. It's his first time recording at least 24 points and 10 rebounds in three consecutive games since December of 2010, also during his first season with the Bulls.

The Bulls, who are the fourth seed in the East and lead the Central Division by percentage points over the Indiana Pacers, have been better with Boozer on the floor over the past five games. Through the first 27 team games this season, Boozer posted a -82 plus/minus, by far the worst on the team. The next-worst over that stretch was Nate Robinson with a -19 plus/minus. But in the past five games, it has been the complete opposite. Boozer leads the Bulls with a +39 plus/minus over that span.