I've written plenty of times already that this is not the season the Boston Celtics thought it would be. Not on a team with second-year star Jayson Tatum, former All-Star Gordon Hayward, third-year swingman Jaylen Brown, and, of course, point guard Kyrie Irving, who missed Tuesday's game with a knee injury.
Also, the Celtics have now surrendered second-half leads in each of their last two games at home to borderline playoff teams in the Western Conference in the Clippers and Lakers. And it came two nights after Boston gave up an 18-point lead to the Los Angeles Lakers at TD Garden.
But Stevens said the injury wasn't to blame for his team's collapse.
"We had yesterday's practice and today's shootaround so we were able to put a couple of things in", coach Doc Rivers said. Point forward Horford started the game by running high/low sets to Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris - two players who had no problem scoring in the paint over guys like Tobias Harris and JJ Redick.
"I was sleep-walking through three quarters", he said. Guys are hanging their head.
"We're going to lose games, but we don't have no attitude, we don't have no toughness, we ain't having fun".
Morris had so much fun in his hometown of Philadelphia, that he purchased each and every one of his teammates cheesesteaks sandwiches after the win. I don't see the joy in the game. "But I'm excited with everyone we have and to see how far we can go".
Garrett Temple, Ivica Zubac, JaMychal Green and Shamet all made their debuts for the Clippers after being acquired by Los Angeles at the trade deadline.
Irving, who helped Cleveland win the 2016 National Basketball Association title before being traded to Boston in 2017, helped the U.S. group of National Basketball Association stars to 2016 Rio Olympic gold. They want to take me out of the starting lineup, get some juice in there, I'm with it, man. At times tonight you think, 'well, might you get Jonah [Bolden] in the game?' As I admitted in the pre-press conference, there's a tolerance level where I have where I want to learn. "I'm trying to win". "That's the goal. The trade deadline's over".
"This is the team we're rocking with". We're going to have to play with the same kind of goal.