PHILADELPHIA There's adversity, tough breaks, bad luck and then there's the Boston Celtics of 2011-2012.
For all of the injury-related setbacks this team has suffered in this lockout-shortened season, the list continues to inexplicably grow.
Boston stumbled out of the gates in the third quarter, and dropped a critical Atlantic Division matchup to Philadelphia, 99-86.
But after this one, no one really cared about the score or who won.
All thoughts and prayers were directed toward Boston's Mickael Pietrus, who suffered what team officials described as a "closed head injury."
In the second quarter with the Celtics ahead 39-38, Pietrus was fouled on a driving lay-up attempt by Lou Williams, with 5:08 to play in the half.
As players began to move away from the play, Pietrus remained on the floor, motionless.
Teammates slowly began to form a circle around him, pulling out long white towels to help prop his head off the hard floor.
It was a scene eerily reminiscent of Marquis Daniels' neck injury on Feb. 6, 2011, which kept Daniels out for the remainder of the season.
After Pietrus was eventually carted off, both teams were clearly impacted by the injury.
But the energy drain his absence caused both teams in the second quarter, lingered around his teammates for the rest of the game.
Boston managed to take a 49-43 lead into the half, but the momentum they had in the first half could not be sustained in what turned out to be a game-changing third quarter.
And the C's were already short-handed with Ray Allen (left ankle) being a late-game scratch.
The C's lost the lead in the third early, only to regain it back, 64-63.
From there, it was all Philly as the Sixers closed out the third with a 17-2 run and led, 80-66 going into the fourth.
Boston made a mini-spurt here and there, but they could never quite regain the strong play and focus they had in the first half.
And the end result was yet another loss in which the C's lost more than just a game - but another key member of their team.