The Boston Celtics have been prone to the occasional clunker this season, such is the reality of a long NBA campaign with a team that still trying to find its way.
But Tuesday night’s 118-95 beatdown at the hands of the Toronto Raptors compounded a problem that started Saturday with an embarrassing loss to the lowly Chicago Bulls.
For the second consecutive game, the Celtics seemed lifeless and far from a cohesive unit. After a spirited first quarter that saw 10 lead changes and the Celtics take a slight 32-30 advantage into the second, the C’s seemingly laid down.
The 11th lead change of the game would be the last, as the Raptors sparked an 18-0 run in the second quarter with Kyrie Irving on the bench. Boston never recovered.
After the game, Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who laid blame on himself after Saturday’s effort, went in on his team’s defensive effort and condemned his club for taking shortcuts.
Stevens also acknowledged what players have been saying in the locker room, and what many in the media have been speculating.
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Celtics-Raptors game:
— Irving finished with just seven points. It was the third time the star point guard has been held to single digits this season, but the first time it has come in a Celtics loss. After the game, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was seen sitting down with Irving as media entered the room postgame.
— The Celtics now are 37-24 and two games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They are 7 1/2 games behind the second-place Raptors.
— Boston trailed by as much as 31 in the third quarter, the biggest deficit of the season for the Celtics. The last time Boston trailed by that much was a 35-point deficit against the Los Angeles Clippers in a 119-106 loss on March 29, 2015.
— This was the Celtics’ eighth straight loss in Toronto, resulting in a split of the teams’ regular-season series at 2-2.
— Boston has lost five of its last seven games, including three straight.
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