The Boston Celtics weren’t themselves on Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks, and although there’s nothing left for the NBA’s leader in wins (62) to gain, that’s no reason to play no-show until the playoffs.

Returning to Fiserv Forum, where the Celtics were previously blown out, 135-102, back on Jan. 11, Boston arrived shorthanded. No Kristaps Porzingis and no Al Horford, however, that wasn’t uncharted territory for the Celtics. Boston’s depth had risen to the occasion in instances where multiple starters were sidelined, playing heavily at times throughout the season.

Yet, that wasn’t the Celtics team that showed up for a final primetime battle against the No. 2 seeded Bucks. Boston was stagnant on both ends of the floor in the first quarter and watched as Milwaukee played aggressor from the get-go. From there, it was catch-up time for the Celtics, who failed to build a lead larger than one point and — even more stunningly — did as they’ve done all season long and set an NBA record. Only this time, it wasn’t commendable as the Celtics became the first team in history not to take a single free-throw attempt for an entire game.

“Another day in the NBA,” Jayson Tatum told reporters while shaking his head, per NBC Sports Boston.

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The Celtics failed to keep up with Milwaukee’s offensive efficiency, shooting a subpar 39.8% from the floor while connecting only on 17-of-52 threes (32.7%) — not a win for Boston’s live by the three, die by the three narrative.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo went down with a non-contact injury (calf strain) and was ruled out during the third quarter, but even that loss was sustainable. Boston didn’t challenge Milwaukee at the rim for most first-half possessions and mustered just one notable 14-5 run after Antetokounmpo walked off the floor. By that time, it was far too late.

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Just like in Atlanta (twice in one week), the Celtics didn’t prove they value what’s deemed a “meaningless” 48 minutes according to what they’ve accomplished. Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla threw out each of the team’s four healthy starters, which granted, left the Celtics undersized with 6-foot-7 Xavier Tillman Sr. thrown at the five — which isn’t an excuse.

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Boston’s played small ball before, and successfully, defeating the No. 4 seeded Orlando Magic, 128-11, on Dec. 15 without Horford, Porzingis or Luke Kornet. Tuesday night wasn’t a product of lacking the needed depth as much as it was a lack of incentive in the collective eyes of the Celtics.

“For the most part, I thought we just had too many empty possessions on the offensive end,” Mazzulla said, per NBC Sports Boston.

Entering the night, the Bucks stood at 15-15 under head coach Doc Rivers, who took over at the helm after the team’s 31-10 start. Milwaukee had stockpiled concerning losses, most recently falling to the Wizards, Grizzlies, Raptors and Knicks consecutively before meeting Boston at center court.

Clinching the No. 1 seed, the league’s best record, and, more importantly, home-court advantage throughout the playoffs is stellar. But it doesn’t validate anything beyond the regular season. The Celtics aren’t in any position to lose sight of what’s brought them to the top of the league rankings and allowed them to hold the No. 1 seed since Nov. 14 (147 straight days).

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Milwaukee’s All-Star troll Patrick Beverley finished with 20 points on 61% shooting to lead the Bucks in scoring. That shouldn’t happen, regardless of how much the Celtics feel they’ve got nothing left to prove to Milwaukee, the team that’s just three years removed from an NBA Finals win.

“I was just fortunate coach Doc, he made the adjustment, he put me in the starting lineup just to kind of give us a boost of energy and we played the right way,” Beverley explained, per ESPN’s postgame coverage. “You have good energy, the ball will find you.”

Boston’s 104-91 road loss dropped the Celtics to 62-17 overall, still 14 games ahead of the Bucks with three left to go before hunting season commences, and the focus officially redirects to raising Banner 18.

Featured image via Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports Images