Words spoken by Bulls coach Scott Skiles after the Bulls' 91-89 loss to the Pacers cut deeper.
"The problem is we started the second half like five blind men out there," Skiles said with little emotion after the Bulls blew a 12-point lead in the third quarter.
Skiles resorted to saying his players were soft.
"We were soft with the ball and soft on the other end," he said.
That said, they nearly forced an overtime, but Ben Gordon's layup at the buzzer came too late, referees ruled after reviewing the play several times.
Anthony Johnson's basket for the Pacers, which he tossed up over his head from the low post with 3.9 seconds left, held up as the game-winner. He was fouled by Gordon but missed a free throw, one of several breaks that went the Bulls' way.
The biggest break for the Bulls came with 6 minutes 46 seconds left in the first half. Jermaine O'Neal, the Pacers' leading scorer with a 21-point average, departed with a mildly sprained left ankle after scoring 12 points in 14 minutes.
The Pacers' Stephen Jackson pounded the Bulls the rest of the way with 29 points, including 14 in a decisive third quarter.
"We just came out in the second half and were real casual with the ball--sloppy when we tried to run," Skiles said.
The Pacers were 30 of 39 on free throws, and that was the primary reason they stayed in the game. Their field-goal percentage in the first quarter was awful--17.4 percent--and they went about seven minutes without a basket.
The Bulls, meanwhile, shot 59.1 percent in the first quarter. As is often the case, they went downhill from there, largely because of foul trouble.
"We had too many foolish fouls," said Gordon, who had five. Gordon scored 13 points. Andres Nocioni led the Bulls with 15.
No one's fouls were more glaring than Tyson Chandler's. He collected five fouls in four minutes. Otherwise, his statistical line was blank except for a turnover.
This game was the second straight in which the Bulls failed to capitalize on an opponent's struggles. Wednesday, the Timberwolves had several miscues and gave the Bulls opportunities to win, chances the Bulls let slip away.
Against the Pacers, the Bulls led nearly the entire first half and most of third.
In the fourth quarter, they managed to rally from a seven-point deficit, tying the game with 18.7 seconds left, thanks to two free throws by Kirk Hinrich.
"We got it close but then we fell asleep," Skiles said.
A trademark finish, indeed.