Celtics

Frustration mounts as Celtics lose big in L.A.

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Frustration mounts as Celtics lose big in L.A.

LOS ANGELES Just outside the Boston Celtics locker room, not a sound could be heard.

Once inside, silence was still the pervading sound of choice.

After a humbling 106-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the scoreboard said it all.

There is no masking the disappointment that such losses can bring about in a team as prideful as the C's.

Beyond winning games, the Celtics will be challenged in the coming days and weeks in keeping that disappointment from turning into frustration which is never a good thing.

"If you're a competitive player like I am, it's frustrating to lose," said Celtics guard Rajon Rondo. "It's frustrating, but at the same time you have to move forward. It's the NBA. We don't have two weeks to linger on this game. We have to move forward and get ready for Golden State."

"On to the next one" is a once-popular Hip-Hop song by rapper Jay-Z. It's also an appropriate title for where the Celtics' heads have to be right now in what is clearly the darkest day in what has been a season full of overcast-like moments.

More than a third of the way through this season, and the Celtics are a .500 team.

The reasons for their most recent setback vary.

Head coach Doc Rivers believes his players were thinking too much, and not just playing the game.

"I really thought we out-thought the game," Rivers said. "I could hear all the talk about different coverages ... we play the same defense every night for the most part. I just thought we were out-thinking ourselves tonight."

Kevin Garnett felt the C's weren't "firm" enough with their play consistently enough.

"We got away from stuff that we had been doing, that's been working for us," Garnett said. "We weren't firm enough; you have to be firm."

Regardless of the reason, the one lesson the Celtics can take away from Thursday's game is clear.

The Clippers are the better team - much better team - at this point.

And if there were any doubts about that, they should not exist after Thursday's thumping.

"We know at this point in the season, they're a better team than us," said Celtics guard Jason Terry. "That's the way they played. For us, you're not going to get frustrated. You just move forward, and keep grinding."

While that sounds good in theory, it too is a recurring theme with this team as they continue to make little to no progress from one game to the next in terms of winning.

"For us, it's the same old story," Terry said. "Win one and then you lose one. Until we break that cycle, we're not going to take that next step. And we know that. For us, we have to win this next one."

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the 76ers at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview:  Celtics need to improve shooting

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bruins put finishing touches on reeling Canadiens

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Bruins put finishing touches on reeling Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Boston Bruins weren’t about to dance on any Montreal Canadiens’ graves after it was over and done with, but they effectively closed the door on any flickering playoff hopes for the Habs this week. It all ended with Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre that finished off the sweep of all three meetings between the two arch-rivals over an eight day span, and with the reeling Montreal a stunning 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

It was a close game nearly all the way through in Montreal until David Pastrnak and Riley Nash scored in the final few minutes of the third period, but the Bruins outscored the Habs by an 11-5 margin while clearly establishing they were the better team in all three contests. It all makes sense given the opposite directions that the two hockey clubs are headed at this point in the season, and because of that the Bruins were playing it pretty cool after burying the Habs.

“It was kind of a crazy week because we were playing them three times, so we obviously wanted to play good hockey,” said Tuukka Rask, who won all three games vs. the Habs while improving his lifetime record vs. the Habs to 10-15-3 in the process. “[We wanted to] get as many points as possible, and won all of those games along with the one on Long Island. So it was a great week for us.”

Certainly it seemed like there was more genuine emotion from the Bruins in Claude Julien’s return to Boston midweek, and perhaps a little more adrenaline in last weekend’s first game at the Bell Centre where rookies like Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen were dipping their toes into the storied rivalry for the first time.

But on this Saturday night it was more about a complete dismantling of the Bleu, Blanc and Rouge even as the Bruins initially fell down by a goal after a bad McAvoy turnover. Instead it was Boston’s Perfection Line that went to work with an efficient, dominant performance as David Pastrnak scored the game’s first goal and insurance third goal in the third period. They also accounted for the game-winner when Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak hemmed Montreal’s fourth line in the defensive zone, and Torey Krug eventually stepped up and rifled one short side on Carey Price.

Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak combined for two goals, six assists and a plus-8 in the resounding victory over the Habs, and had a dominant 12 of Boston’s 31 shots on net when the final horn had sounded. They simply overwhelmed Montreal with their depth, the high end quality of their lineup and the fact that Boston was rested while the Habs had to play in Washington DC on Friday night in a three games in four days stretch.

All of that allowed the Bruins to drive the final nail into Montreal’s coffin when the game was over, and it furthermore allowed Boston to keep worrying about the teams they’re trying to catch (ahem . . . Tampa Bay Lightning) rather than Eastern Conference bottom-feeders like the Canadiens.

“We talked about doing the job against them and finding a ways to push teams down while gaining ground on the teams above us,” said Patrice Bergeron. “I thought it was a great effort again. We knew that they would be ready for us, but we also knew that they had played last night. So maybe if we had a good start we could jump on them. I thought we had a good game.”

Clearly there have been ebbs and flows to the Bruins/Habs rivalry over their long history together, and both Boston and Montreal have been in the catbird seat at different times even in the recent editions of their history. But right now Boston is beating the Canadiens badly at their own skill and speed game and dominating thing with pure hockey rather than bullying, and that’s got to sting for a Habs group that simply couldn’t compete with the Bruins in three different chances to do so this week. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE