The typically stoic demeanor of Derrick Rose disappeared into a fit of disbelief Tuesday night, and it had nothing to do with him failing to score in double figures for just the second time in his career.
When official Eli Roe whistled the rookie for fouling D.J. Augustin on a three-point attempt with 19.2 seconds remaining in regulation, Rose and the Bulls' bench erupted in anger.
"You tell me," Rose said when asked what happened on the play. "I don't know. I must've blinked too hard or something. I didn't even jump. I just put my hand up and that's what they called.
"You can't call that, especially at the end of the game like that. He said I hit him on the arm, so I must've been in motion or something."
Augustin sank all three free throws to tie the game, Rose's left-handed floater got blocked by Emeka Okafor at the end of regulation and the Bulls went without a field goal the final 3:32 of overtime.
"They played better than us," coach Vinny Del Negro said. "They executed better.
"I thought Derrick was right on him. I didn't think he hit him. Augustin's legs came out to try to get the contact. You can't put yourself in those positions. But no question, a tough call against us."
Augustin led Charlotte with 29 points in relief of Raja Bell, who was ejected by Roe in the first quarter. The Bobcats already were without dynamic forward Gerald Wallace, who is mourning the death of his father. Augustin made all 13 free throws as he aggressively attacked and also sank four three-pointers.
"I haven't spoken to one person in the league who doesn't rave about him," Bobcats coach Larry Brown said.
Okafor added 20 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks for an extremely aggressive Bobcats team that enjoyed a 43-19 advantage in free-throw attempts.
"The entire game was discouraging," guard Ben Gordon said. "Our energy wasn't where it needed to be."
Gordon led the Bulls with 25 points but watched from the top of the key as Rose dribbled the entire clock down at the end of regulation before trying to create. Del Negro defended Rose, who finished with six points on 3 of 16 shooting,
"I liked Derrick being aggressive on that," Del Negro said. "He got that floater in the lane. Okafor made a good play. We might've gone a bit earlier. That's about it."
The loss wasted the Bulls' second attempt to reach .500 after 22 games, accomplished just twice since the dynasty ended. It also squandered an extremely active game by Tyrus Thomas, who finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and two blocks as the first Bull off the bench.
"I think I played pretty well," Thomas said. "But to advance in this league, you have to finish teams off."
Del Negro praised Thomas' game.
"He made some shots and looked more comfortable out there," Del Negro. "When he's active and uses his athleticism, you have to watch where he is at all times."
Instead, the Bulls went scoreless in overtime from the 2:10 mark until Gordon split two free throws with 13.9 seconds left. The Bulls shot just 2 of 8 in the extra session.
"We have another game [Wednesday]," Rose said. "I can't wait for it."
Bobcats 110, Bulls 101 (OT)