Brooklyn native Gibson could start for Bulls' Boozer

NEW YORK – The timing is almost Hollywood, though the setting is urban and gritty.

Or at least used to be gritty.

With Bulls forward Carlos Boozer saying his right hamstring remains “sore and stiff,” there’s a good chance Taj Gibson will start Friday night in Brooklyn.

The Barclays Center is a 10-minute walk from where Gibson grew up, in the Fort Greene housing projects.

Upon entering the new arena for the first time Friday morning, Gibson looked up and said: “It’s amazing. It’s one up on (Madison Square) Garden right now. … The black color scheme, the way the TV screens are bright. I guess because it’s brand new. You come off the (Manhattan) Bridge and it looks like a spaceship. It looks good. They did a great job.”

Gibson said that before the arena was built, “It was a construction zone, but there was no construction going on. It looked bad. I always saw drug dealers, people hustling and selling used stuff. I never saw a lot of stores. It was a rough area.

“It’s amazing to come in and see new technology. I see they put a lot of money and time into it. It’s good for the community. You see little kids come in here and see that good things do happen in Brooklyn.”

Subbing for Boozer, Gibson made his second start of the season Wednesday in Milwaukee, turning in a 14-point, nine-rebound effort.

“I don’t want him to change,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I know he’s excited to be home. But I think he has been down this road before when we play in New York. This probably has a little added meaning for him. Taj has been playing well and we need him to play well tonight.”

Boozer update: Boozer injured the hamstring Monday in Charlotte, saying: “At the end of the first quarter, I went up for a shot, got banged up a little bit and came down funny. No foul. No free throws"

He stayed in the game, closing out the victory with a left-handed dunk.

“My adrenaline was going,” he said. “I was warmed up, I was hyped. I played through it, which is probably why it got worse the next day.”

Boozer is wary of coming back too soon, noting how Luol Deng missed five games in January because of a hamstring injury.

“Like a groin, you might not feel it right away,” Boozer said. “Then you make a long stride and next thing you know, you pull it. Lu hurt it in Toronto but pulled it in Boston. I’m going to be smart about it. I’ll take it day by day.”

Boozer said he might play Friday night but if not, “it shouldn’t be more than a couple more days.”

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein

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