BOSTON — There was no way to get around it. The 95-94 buzzer-beating loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday night is a tough one for the Celtics to accept.
This 76ers team was expected by many to be the league's worst and, for the most part, it has lived up to the less-than-stellar expectation.
So, in this season of learned lessons, this is one that the Celtics could have passed on.
Following the loss, coach Brad Stevens tried to do his best to keep his team from being too emotionally beaten down with the loss, reminding them that they "can't let your circumstances control your thoughts. You have to make your thoughts improve your circumstances."
Stevens added, "Everybody wants something, but we have to make small tweaks and changes to get something. And that's the hard part, is getting guys to do that through a dispiriting loss. But, you know, I'm not going to be that way, and it's my job to try to be contagious in not being that way."
Jared Sullinger recognizes the challenge of keeping the locker room's spirits relatively upbeat, despite what has been a difficult stretch of games.
"We have a good set of guys in here that keeps our morale at a good level," Sullinger said. "We constantly come out and compete... we just got to win some."
And with that, here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly as Boston closes out the month with losses in 15 of their 17 games in January.
He missed a bunch of shots he normally makes, but to his credit he fought all game and gave the Celtics a great chance at getting the victory. By the end of the night, Sullinger had a game-high 24 points to go with 17 rebounds, which was also a game-high.
You can bet he'll have nightmares tonight about the short jumper he missed in the final seconds that would have likely sealed a Celtics victory. The late-game miss aside, Humphries had a near double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Boston turned the ball over 18 times, which led to 15 points for the Sixers. The points the Celtics' turnovers generated weren't too bad, but those miscues cost them valuable possessions against a team that has struggled defensively all season. Having lost as many games as they have this season, the Celtics have to find a way to win games such as this, especially at home.
Boston continues to prove itself as the worst-shooting team in the NBA, connecting on just 36.8 percent of its shots against the Sixers. Making this poor shooting night so bad was it came against the a everyone scores a bunch of points against, evident by Philadelphia giving up a league-high 109.9 points per game.