The Houston Rockets were sloppy, looked flat in the first three quarters and ultimately lost, 110-100, in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals to the Los Angeles Lakers.
This put the Rockets on the brink of elimination as LeBron James and the Lakers seized a 3-1 lead in the series.
"Just a lack of spirit," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni explained in ESPN.com. "It just seems like we got down. We lost our way a little bit."
The Lakers led by as much as 23 points midway in the final quarter and it was at this point when the Rockets came into life with a 22-4 run.
But this proved too late.
"I don't have an explanation for you," said Rockets' Russell Westbrook, who finished with 25 points in the defeat.
"Should have been a sense of urgency on everybody's part, but we fought [in the fourth quarter], which is good, and we know what we have to do. It's going to take a lot of effort."
The Lakers sat their big men JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard and matched the Rockets by playing small.
Still, the Lakers lorded the boards, 52-26, as they took advantage of the Rockets' lack of energy.
"There's nothing we can do about it now," said Rockets star James Harden, who scored 16 of his 21 points from the free throw line, shooting 2-of-11 from the floor.
"We've just got to get ready for Game 5."