CLEVELAND A three game losing streak. The Boston Celtics' biggest homer, head coach Doc Rivers, threatening to push for new players if things don't change soon.
So how did the C's respond against the 10-32 Cleveland Cavaliers?
As if the rhetoric from their coach and the losing ways meant nothing.
For most of the game, it was an emotionless, passionless performance by the Celtics, symbolic of how they have played all season.
And the Cavaliers took the C's lethargic play and used it to their advantage in pulling out a 95-90 win.
There were mental breakdowns, defensive lapses, poor shot selection - just about anything and everything that can be done to lose a game, the Celtics did on Tuesday.
Trailing 88-87, the Celtics had a chance to regain the lead only to have Kevin Garnett's fade-away jumper come up short.
Moments later, Kyrie Irving sprinted down court and finished an acrobatic lay-up to give the Cavs a 3-point lead with 52 seconds to play. He finished with 40 points.
Boston called a time-out, and had plenty of time to still win the game.
But the way their season has gone, the way they played on this particular night, there was little optimism outside of their huddle that they could still win the game.
And true to form, the Celtics squandered an opportunity to potentially tie the game or trim it to one point when Rajon Rondo missed a driving lay-up.
Garnett committed a foul moments later, and this game's outcome became a formality at that point.
As has been the case all season, the Celtics showed flashes of the promise that Rivers has been looking for all season.
But they were once again too few and too far between one another to make a serious impact on the game.
Boston (20-21) led on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, but simply could not do the little things - box out, don't turn the ball over, make open shots - that have to be done in order to win.
Although Tuesday's game wasn't decided until the final minutes of play, Cleveland was the latest team to get off to a good start with Cavs Kyrie Irving leading the charge.
The reigning Rookie of the Year award winner had 19 first-quarter points which was key to the Cavs leading 31-27 after the first.
Keeping the C's from getting blown out the gym was rookie Jared Sullinger.
Sullinger, who grew up in nearby Columbus, OH, had six points and seven rebounds in his first eight minutes on the floor. He had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the game.
His play was instrumental in the C's pulling ahead by as many as four points in the second quarter, only for Cleveland to regain the lead shortly after Irving re-entered and take a slim 54-53 lead into the half.
The inconsistent play that has been the identity of this Celtics team, was on full display once again.
There were moments in which the execution from defense to offense was seamless. But far too often the Celtics would do what they want defensively, only to take a bad or ill-advised shot. And when there was great ball movement offensively and it resulting in a Celtics basket, often the defense was break down and allow Cleveland an easy score.
The Cavs came into the game ranked dead-last in assists per game this season, with 19.4 per game. At the half, Cleveland had 13 assists.