The 89-82 deficit on the scoreboard hurt the Bulls badly enough.

The 31-14 discrepancy in free-throw attempts felt like piling on.

“Listen, we’re not going to blame the referees for our loss,” Carlos Boozer said. “It was our fault we let up 25 points in the fourth quarter. But the discrepancy was huge and I thought we were being pretty aggressive.”

Several critical plays down the stretch rankled the Bulls.

Trailing 82-80, Boozer drove hard and appeared to draw contact from Elton Brand, who blocked his shot.

“It was a great pocket pass by C.J. (Watson),” Boozer said. “I was trying to go to the hole strong. Obviously, I wanted a layup or dunk. I thought I had some contact. I thought I got fouled to be frank. The fouls they were calling on the other side, I thought that call could’ve been made. But they didn’t call it. We just kept playing on.”

– Reported by K.C. Johnson of theĀ Chicago Tribune