Carlos Boozer has said his long-standing tradition of asking officials to touch the ball during free throw situations stems from his youth basketball days.

What started as a half-joking request because big men didn't get enough touches has turned into a serious, calming habit.

Coincidentally, the Bulls are giving Boozer plenty of touches lately, and his prodigious production is serving as a serious, calming habit for what can be an offensively-challenged team without Derrick Rose.

Boozer, who leads the Eastern Conference with 20 double-doubles, has been a rock offensively of late. He has averaged 21.1 points and 11.1 rebounds in his last nine games, eight of them double-doubles.

"Just playing hard and with confidence," he said. "Getting a little more time and plays and I'm just playing better and being aggressive."

Shortly after the Bulls' inexplicable home loss to the Bobcats on New Year's Eve, Boozer vowed to be more efficient offensively as a New Year's resolution. That he's averaging 15.5 points and 9.7 rebounds in just 30 minutes, 28 seconds per game would seem to qualify.

"Carlos has proven to be a big-time scorer in this league," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "He has a good rhythm going right now. He's mixing up his game extremely well. It's a combination of post-ups, drives and open jump shots. We're a much better team when we play through him and establish him in the post. And we have to continue to search him out."

Asked if he thought Boozer was attacking the rim more rather than settling for fallaway jumpers, Thibodeau didn't hesitate.

"It's a balance," he said. "He's rolling more on the pick-and-rolls. When he does pop, you have to play him for both his shot and drive. Those guys are difficult to guard. If there's a body position mistake, he's going to make you pay."