Luol Deng blamed himself for the Bulls' 109-107 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
In the extra session's frantic closing seconds, Deng threw away the ball after rebounding a missed shot by Matt Harpring. Mehmet Okur made the Bulls pay with a three-pointer with seven-tenths of a second remaining.
"I should have held on to the ball instead of passing it," Deng said. "If I had held on to the ball, we would have won the game. It was my fault."
The Bulls attempted to regroup after two timeouts. Ben Gordon inbounded the ball from the sideline to Andres Nocioni, the league's most accurate three-point shooter. Nocioni swished a three-pointer but it came too late. Officials needed all of a second to review the play.
Truth be told, the Bulls blew countless opportunities in dropping to 0-4 on their 14-day Western Conference trip.
Their prospects for a victory in the next five days look dim as Denver, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers await.
"I hate to say demoralizing, but to lose a game like that ..." Kirk Hinrich said. "We've lost games like that this year. That's not the first time. But this was a game we really needed. It was huge for our trip. It's just frustrating not to get it.
"Unfortunately, we lost our composure a little bit, but we still should have won the game. We had a six-point lead in overtime."
Hinrich mentioned a three-pointer by Andrei Kirilenko, who scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds, as a play that deflated the Bulls.
He went on to talk about the Bulls' fouls and their missed rebounds as well as Deng's turnover, although he held off on attributing the mistake to Deng.
"They all add up," Hinrich said.
Once again, the Bulls wasted a banner night by Gordon, who scored 35 points two days after scoring 39 in a loss to the Phoenix Suns. He tied the game with a three-pointer from the right wing with 7.6 seconds left.
Overtime ensued when Utah's Milt Palacio missed a jumper with time running out in regulation.
"We played pretty hard," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We didn't always play smart. Our shot selection when it got tight, I didn't think was great."
The last time the teams met, Okur burned the Bulls for a season-high 33 points. Up until he hit the game-winner, he was mediocre.
Harpring compensated for the Jazz by scoring 28 points off the bench. His 20-foot jumper with 36.6 seconds left in overtime tied the game 106-106.
"We had no answer for him at all at [small forward]," Skiles said. "He just dominated us."
The Bulls, who blew a 104-97 lead in overtime, regained a 107-106 edge when Tyson Chandler hit one of two free throws with 25.1 second left. Then came Deng's closing mistake and Okur's winning shot.
"We've lost so many games like this," Skiles said. "They've been close games, and we're trying to fight it to the end, but a play has to be made. We have to make a stop, we have to get a rebound, which we did in the one possession but then we threw it away and gave up a three.
"And those are plays at this level you just can't make if you're going to win."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times