Wednesday night’s final score was hideous — 108-88, if you prefer the gruesome details.
But the Celtics’ latest embarrassment — this one at the hands of the Golden State Warriors — is all the more humiliating because of what preceded it.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens called it “a really good practice.”
Meanwhile, his point guard saw it another way.
“I don’t feel it was a good practice,” Rajon Rondo said.
Well, to each his own, though Rondo might be right on this one.
Either way, after Tuesday’s practice, the Celtics gabbed about never giving up.
“I think the biggest thing is that teams where we are at right now can really just kind of give up and say, ‘You know what? Forget this season. Let’s try again next year,’ ” Jared Sullinger said.
“I don’t think any of us are thinking like that, and it shows in our play,” the Celtics forward continued. “Every night, we come out and we play hard. I don’t think nobody wants to give up on this season.”
And so the Celtics who talked about not giving up Tuesday then proceeded to come out a day later and give all the appearances of a team that gave up.
“Again, I kinda kick myself, to be honest, because I’ve said three times this year that we had a really good practice [the day before a game] – and we did,” Stevens said after his team lost for the seventh time in its last eight games.
“But for whatever reason we follow it up with a clunker.”
Calling it a clunker is to say that the ocean is moist.
It wasn’t the Celtics’ worst loss of the season — that happened Jan. 7 when they lost by 31 points at Denver.
But the Celtics trailed by as many points against Golden State.
After such blowouts, Celtics forward Gerald Wallace usually would tear into the team, saying it played selfish and had no pride. He’d call out the effort and question his teammates’ heart and desire.
But Wallace is out after having surgery on his left ankle and knee, so the Celtics’ locker room was absent its voice of unfiltered perspective.
Jeff Green chipped in after an abysmal 4-point effort.
“We don’t want to keep embarrassing ourselves,” he said.
The overall statistics looked so lopsided you’d think someone fudged the numbers.
The Warriors scored a whopping 58 points in the paint; the Celtics had 32.
The Warriors scored 25 fast-break points; the Celtics had 11.
The Warriors scored 24 points off turnovers; the Celtics had 10.
“They were better every which way,” Stevens said. “I’d like to find something that I could say we were better in, but there wasn’t anything.”
The final numbers don’t look as bad as they did at various stretches throughout the game, but only because the Celtics hit a few meaningless baskets late.
“We just weren’t on the same page on either end of the floor,” said Rondo, who had 14 points, 7 turnovers, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds.
It was all downhill from the opening tip, as the Celtics started the game by missing their first five shots. Soon after, they were 1 for 8 from the floor with four turnovers.
“We started slow, we finished slow on both ends of the floor,” Rondo said. “We couldn’t get a rhythm.”
The Warriors led by 21 points at halftime and by 30 entering the fourth quarter, at which point the game should’ve been called off.
“The game is simple,” forward Brandon Bass said. “You make shots, you miss shots, you turn the ball over, you don’t turn the ball over. We had some mental lapses tonight.”
Yeah, just a few.
The Celtics were coming off a three-day break and Golden State (38-24) was on the last night of a six-game road trip and the second game of a back-to-back.
Yet the Celtics looked half-asleep, a factor in their eye-popping 22 turnovers.
“I did not think our energy was an A-plus,” Stevens said. “Let’s put it that way.”
A man impersonating the late rap star Tupac Shakur was perhaps the only thing fans will remember. He was shown on the JumboTron in the second half and fans, not interested in the game, began chanting “Tu-Pac” at one point.
Later, the fans started chanting “Scal-a-brine” for former Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine, an assistant coach for the Warriors.
Kelly Olynyk, returning from a two-game absence with a sprained toe, led the Celtics with 19 points off the bench.
Sullinger had 11 points off the bench, though he missed six of his seven shots.
David Lee had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors. Klay Thompson added 18 points and Stephen Curry had 14.
Jordan Crawford faced his former team for the first time since the Celtics traded him to Golden State last month. He scored 15 off the bench.
“Good to see him have success, but I don’t like it when it’s against our team,” Stevens said.
It was another loss on the way to the draft lottery, but one of the very worst ones yet.
“I’ve heard people say our record is what it is, you’re playing for pride,” Stevens said. “That’s a lot. To me, that’s a lot.”
The Celtics never led Wednesday night.
Were they playing for pride? It sure didn’t look like it.Baxter Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.