Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat attempts to control a loose ball against Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls in on May 22, 2011, at American Airlines Arena in Miami. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Charles Barkley believes the Eastern Conference Finals will be decided by the battle between Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer. What, no Dwayne Wade? No LeBron? No Rose?
The secret ingredient to a championship is rebounds. Just ask Michigan State's Tom Izzo. His teams consistently push past more talented teams because they hustle on the boards.
Grabbing a defensive rebound can trigger a fast break. Grabbing an offensive board allows your team to dictate the flow of the game and chew up the clock. More importantly, offensive rebounds demoralize the defense. You played hard for 24 seconds ... and now you have to keep up the intensity for another 24.
Last year, Tyson Chandler's presence on the boards allowed Dallas to bump off Miami. This year, Boozer and Noah must step up to give the Bulls more chances with the rock.
The problem is, Boozer has made a career of disappearing in crunch time. He lacks the killer instinct of other big men. That's why the Bulls need someone to risk being the bad guy to call him out when he's sulking or mailing it in. Perhaps that's Rip Hamilton's role. Or maybe Rose will become more vocal on the court.
Whatever it takes, the Bulls need to dominate the ball. You can't give a team like Miami second opportunities.