Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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First, the Boston Celtics lost their point guard. Then, they coughed up a 28-point lead.
After the Los Angeles Clippers outscored Boston 75-44 after Kyrie Irving left with a right knee sprain Saturday night to claim a 123-112 victory at TD Garden. It was the biggest comeback by a team in the NBA the past two seasons, the largest in Clippers history and Boston’s biggest blown lead since Dec. 5, 2003, coming two nights after the Celtics spit the bit on an 18-point lead in a 129-128 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the loss Saturday night that Irving’s right knee appeared to “buckle” in the second quarter while attempting to defend LA’s Garrett Temple at the top of the key and that the 26-year-old All-Star will undergo more tests Sunday.
“His knee buckled a little bit in the second quarter, and so that’s all I know,” he said.
Irving finished with 14 points and two assists in 14 minutes. He missed the last 15 games and all of the playoffs last season with injuries to his left knee.
“There’s no excuses,” Stevens told NBC Sports Boston. “Those things happen and we all have to pick up for that. So, I’ll go back and figure out what I can do better, what we can do better, and we’ll go from there.”
Toward the bigger picture, Celtics forward Marcus Morris pulled no punched in his postgame comments, describing Boston’s effort at “unacceptable.”
“I mean, for me, it’s not really about the loss,” Morris said. “It’s about the attitude that we’re playing with. Guys are hanging their head. It’s just not fun, it’s not fun. We’re not competing at a high level. Even when we’re winning it’s still not fun. I just don’t see the joy in the game.
“I watch all these other teams in the league, guys up on the bench, up on the court; they’re doing stuff that looks like they’re enjoying their teammate’s success, they’re enjoying everything and they’re playing together. And when I look at us, I just see a bunch of individuals.”
With the trade deadline having passed, Morris said there are no more excuses for the Celtics, who dropped to 35-21 with the loss, fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, 6.5 games behind first-place Toronto, which has the best record in the NBA at 41-14.
“For us to be a championship team, man, this (crap) has to change,” he said. “We have to genuinely want to win. That has to be the first goal. Whatever it takes, I’m with it. If you want to take me out the lineup and get some juice in it, I’m with it. But I’m trying to win. That’s the goal. Trade deadline’s over.
“This is the team we’re rocking with. This is what we’re going with. So, at the end of the day, man… it’s unacceptable what we did tonight. It’s unacceptable for what we did with a team of our caliber.”