Carlos Boozer Says Bulls Are Better Than Last Year (No Thanks To Carlos Boozer)S

Every morning, the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews sift through the a.m. drive-time chatter to bring you the best interviews with coaches, players, and personalities across the sports landscape. Today: Boozer laughs at the notion Chicago doesn't need Derrick Rose.

Carlos Boozer joined ESPN Radio Chicago to talk about last Thursday's thriller against Miami, Derrick Rose's struggles and the team's highly-touted work ethic. He also stated that he thinks Tom Thibodeau should again by honored as the league's best coach, and wasn't afraid to claim that this year's team is better than the one that finished with the league's best record a year ago.

On if this Bulls team has a particular disliking for the Heat:
"No, we just wanna beat everybody we play, man. We don't like anybody, we just like ourselves. We go for us and that's it."

On if he thinks the Heat give the Bulls the respect they deserve:
"Probably not. I don't think so. I don't think a lot of teams give us the respect, but respect is something that's earned and we hope to earn our respect in the playoffs this year."

On critics claiming that the Bulls' current work ethic doesn't leave room for them to shift into a higher gear in the playoffs:
"This is my response: We play hard every night, which is a great statement and I think it's a great compliment to our team and our coaches and to the character of our group of guys. So we won't have any adjustments when the playoffs come. We don't have to play harder, we have to play the same way we played all season. So there's no adjustment for us. And I think that's a good thing. I think when you're coasting during the season and you have to tap into some hidden source of energy to compete in the playoffs, I think people end up fooling themselves. But I think when you play hard every night, and you have to have from 1 through 13, everybody does the same thing every night, you don't have to make any big adjustments in the playoffs. You just play like you usually play, and that's a good thing for us, I think."

On how this abbreviated season has been different:
"It's been more difficult. It's been much more difficult. We're playing four, five games a week. I think every team had to go through a back-to-back-to-back scenario. And there's a lot less practice time, so you're using your shootarounds the day of games as your practices. Because if you do too much of practice then guys don't have any legs, especially at this point in the season. … But it was crazy, it's taken a toll on a lot of teams. I'm proud of my guys. We came in great shape this training camp - even though it was a shortened training camp - we came in great shape and were able to hit the ground running."

On Derrick Rose's struggles against Miami Thursday:
"He did help us. … He might not have had a good shooting night, but that happens in the NBA. I've had terrible shooting nights, everybody's had terrible shooting nights before. He did other great things. He got eight, nine assists, he played tough defense, he was still our floor leader, and he was still a crazy threat even if he missed a shot. So, we got a couple of offensive rebounds off of his shots. Nobody's gonna shoot great every night. Nobody's perfect out there. But to me, he was able to help us away from the court. And D-Rose is a baller, you know he's gonna get his scoring going. … Honestly, I was just happy to have him back out there, man. We missed him so much - it's good to have him back out on the court with us."

On the somewhat wild notion that maybe the Bulls are better off without Derrick Rose:
"We need D-Rose. Let me tell you something. We've had guys step up huge in his absence and we have guys that stepped up in everybody's absence. But for us to win the championship and bring No. 7 to Chicago, trust me, we're gonna need Derrick Rose."

On if head coach Tom Thibodeau should win coach of the year again:
"He needs to. In my opinion, he's done an amazing job. … Last year he did a great job, and this year he's done an even better job in this condensed season - being able to manage guys, manage rotations again, has done a great job of giving us rest when we need it, pushing us when we need to be pushed, and doing a great job of coaching during the course of games and different situations. So in my opinion, he should get it two years in a row."

On if this team is ready for a title run:
"Absolutely. Absolutely. I think this team is better than last year's team. We're deeper. We added Rip Hamilton, which is a big pickup for us. We drafted Jimmy Butler, and then everybody else is back from last year's team. So with - what we went through last year gave us great experience for this season, and we're very hungry. … Don't miss it, it's gonna be a great run."

This post, written by Steven Cuce, appears courtesy of Sports Radio Interviews. For the complete highlights of the interview, as well as audio, click here.

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