Celtics

Celtics

LOS ANGELES -- There was no mistaking that the frustration level on Isaiah Thomas' part was about as high as it has been this season following Monday's 116-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
 
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"We should have won this game," Thomas said following the loss. "We should have won last night [at Phoenix]. We can't be experimenting in Game 63."

 When asked to elaborate, Thomas said, "You can watch film and you know what it is."
 
With Al Horford (elbow) and Jonas Jerebko (sick) both unable to play, Boston went with an uber-small lineup in which all five starters for Boston -- Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson -- were shorter than their Clippers counterpart.

Size wasn't a factor of great significance in the first half, as the Celtics led by three points in part because of the 26-26 tie on the boards.

But the second half was a different matter as the Clippers won the battle on the boards by 10.
 
Boston was more cut-and-paste with its lineup than usual without Horford and Jerebko. Their absences, coupled with foul trouble, left coach Brad Stevens little choice but dig a little deeper into the second unit than he normally would.
 
Thomas wouldn't say whether his "experimenting" comment was in regards to the lineups used on Monday, but it's hard to imagine he was referring to anything else.
 
Regardless, the bottom line is Boston has lost two straight and three of its last five.
 
And while the Celtics are in good position to return to the postseason for the third straight year, and the first with home court through at least the first round, the team's recent struggles should not be glossed over.
 
That said, Thomas isn't overly concerned with the loss as much as he is how it came about.
 
"It's the way we lost [Monday night]; it's unacceptable," he said. "We lost the game in the last 15 minutes of the game. We played a good game up until the last 15. That's the players' fault, coaches' fault, everybody in this locker room's fault. We could have done a lot better."