Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: 'Sometimes you get your butt kicked'

Stars, studs and duds: 'Sometimes you get your butt kicked'

Following Boston’s 108-85 thumping at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, Brad Stevens had a very succinct message for his team after the loss.

“Sometimes you get your butt kicked!” he told them.

While that’s true, it’s rare for an elite team, or least one with an elite-team record, to get beaten so soundly by another squad that while playing better of late, is still the worst team in the league.

“Chicago dictated the whole game; they played harder than we did,” Stevens said. “They played with more presence than we did; played more competitive than we did. They played with more authority than we did. You’re not going to win many games when you play like that.”

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Losing is something that all teams, good and bad, have to deal with and experience. But the way Chicago dominated play for most of the night, was something new for this Celtics team that has consistently come back from huge deficits to win.

But Stevens has cautioned repeatedly how his team was playing with fire making that part of their narrative this season, knowing there would be times when they just wouldn’t be able to muster up the necessary plays at either end of the floor and rally for a victory.

Monday was that night.

“We’ve had a chance to win every game except for this one,” Stevens said. “This one was obvious, even when we were making our run in the third it was kind of back and forth. And they hit every big shot they needed to kind of stem the tide when it was an 11-point game or put it back to 14. We just had too many easy errors from our standpoint. And then, they made plays.”

And in doing so, they absolutely out-played the Celtics in every way imaginable.

“I don’t want to chalk it up to, ‘hey you’re gonna have nights like this,’” Stevens said. “We just got our butt kicked; we’ll take that and move forward.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 108-85 beatdown at the hands of the Chicago Bulls who despite winning three straight, have now moved up to a tie for the worst record (6-20) in the NBA, with Atlanta.

  

STARS

Nikola Mirotic

The Boston Celtics had no answer for Mirotic who lit the Celtics up for 24 points. “We didn’t do a great job guarding him and he made us pay for that,” Stevens said. “He’s a really good offensive player.”

Bobby Portis

Coming off the bench, Portis gave the Celtics fits from the perimeter as well as around the rim before finishing with a season-high 23 points. “Portis got going from (3-point range),” Stevens said. “We played with no presence.”

 

STUDS

Kyrie Irving

He didn’t log a single minute on Monday, but his presence was definitely felt. Boston looked completely lost and discombobulated with their four-time all-star out of the lineup with a quads injury.

 

DUDS

Every Celtic on the active roster

There’s just not enough space to go through all the players that failed the Celtics miserably on Monday. The starters. The bench. The two-way players called up. This was not just the worst game of the season for the Celtics, but one of the worst ever in Stevens’ four-plus seasons as the Celtics head coach. “It was a collective success for them, and a collective failure for us,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

How to watch/stream Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics, Game 3

How to watch/stream Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics, Game 3

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch Game 3 of the opening round of the NBA playoffs, as the Celtics play the Bucks in Milwaukee. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Celtics have chance to put Bucks in deep hole

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

Celtics-Bucks preview: Bucks' last chance to make it a series

Celtics-Bucks preview: Bucks' last chance to make it a series

MILWAUKEE - Home or on the road, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a load for the Celtics.

His 32.5 points per game in the playoffs is second only to LeBron James' 35-point average.

The difference, aside from James’ team being tied 1-1 with Indiana, is that Antetokounmpo is shooting a higher percentage (.632 compared to James' .585) in part because he has not scored a single point from behind 3-point range.

And he hasn’t gotten much help from the perimeter from his teammates, either. Milwaukee has averaged just 19 three-pointers per game, which is dead-last among the 16 teams playoff teams. And their 7.5 made 3’s per game ranks 14th while the Celtics are ranked seventh with 12.0 made 3’s per game.

“We’re getting shots; we’re making shots,” the Bucks' Khris Middleton told NBC Sports Boston. “It’s the little things, like turnovers and rebounds we have to do a better job at cleaning up.”

The Bucks are hoping a return to familiar surroundings will be just what they need to turn this series into a competitive one.

And to Celtics coach Brad Stevens’ credit, he has done his part to constantly stay on his team about playing with an edge, well aware of how quickly this series can change if they show any signs of letting up.

“If we don’t play with an edge we’ll get beat by 30,” Stevens said. “So we better play with an edge. Better play competitive, better be tough; can’t let go of that. You don’t have a chance if you don’t do that."

Stevens added: “That’s kind of who we’ve been . . . We’ve got really competitive guys. And if you don’t compete, you’re gonna get beat. The game will be honest.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE