The Boston Celtics dropped their third straight game Wednesday night as they fell to the Los Angeles Clippers, 91-82.
It was another maddening performance for the C's as they limited L.A. to 91 points but were doomed by a horrific 3-point shooting display. Jaylen Brown notched 30 points for his fifth straight game with at least 25, but it wasn't enough to snap Boston's skid.
Here are three instant takeaways from the Celtics' loss, which brings them to 16-19 on the season. Next up is a New Year's Eve matchup vs. the Phoenix Suns, set to tip-off at 1 p.m. at TD Garden.
Celtics have historically bad night from 3
Plain and simple: If the Celtics are even remotely competent from beyond the arc, they win this game.
Boston was 4-for-42 (9.5%) from long range despite being given countless open shots. That marked one of the worst 3-point shooting performances in NBA history. They became the third NBA team ever to take 40 3s in a game and make less than five of them, per The Athletic's Jared Weiss. The Celtics franchise has never made four or fewer 3s on at least 30 attempts in a game.
Given those numbers, the Celtics really had no business making it a tight game until the final minutes. But they dominated the offensive boards 21-9, second-chance points 28-8, and shot 52.5% on 2-pointers to the Clippers' 41.5%. They also turned the ball over eight times to L.A.'s 14.
Those 3-point struggles ultimately were the difference in the nine-point loss, and they've been an issue over Boston's last handful of games. The Celtics are shooting 33.1% from beyond the arc this season, 25th in the league as of Wednesday night.
Jaylen Brown can't carry the load
Jaylen Brown was one of the many Celtics to struggle from 3 (1-for-13). He took a whopping 36 shots in total and made 13 of them for 30 points. A decent showing after a rough one Monday night, but still not enough to lead the short-handed C's to victory.
The most glaring stat next to Brown's name on the box score isn't the 12 missed 3s or the 36 shot attempts. It's the zero in the assists column. The All-Star wing is trying to do too much with Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart out, and it's tough to blame him with the rest of the roster struggling to make shots.
The Celtics will hope to have Tatum and Smart back on the floor when they host the Suns on Friday, otherwise it could be another long night.
Another Marcus Morris "revenge game"
Marcus Morris returned to TD Garden to take on his former team and torched them for the second time in their two meetings this season. He dropped 20 points (7-16) in a 114-111 Clippers win on Dec. 8, and on Wednesday night he led L.A. with 23 points (9-21) to go with 10 boards.
Boston's weaknesses as of late have been lackluster second-half effort and poor shooting, two areas Morris certainly could help them in right about now. He provided them a firm reminder of that with his performance in this one.