It was another good, but not good enough performance for the Celtics who were outmuscled 94-82 by the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.
The loss was Boston's fifth in six games, the kind of run that can dampen the mood of even the most optimistic of coaches, even Brad Stevens right?
Stevens isn't doing backflips over the Celtics' 13-19 record (who would?), but he was far from being a Debbie Downer after his team's most recent setback.
"I leave very encouraged," Stevens said after the loss. "We didn't make shots, but they had a large role in that."
Boston missed a slew of shots, which included a woeful 2-for-12 shooting performance from 3-point range. Boston won the battle of the boards 48-41, but the Bulls crushed them in second-chance points, 18-5, and punished them inside the paint, finishing with a 48-36 advantage.
However, Jordan Crawford bounced back from tough game against Atlanta, with 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting to go with seven assists.
Kris Humphries had a nice game off the bench, with nine points and 11 rebounds, while Courtney Lee chipped in seven points and five rebounds.
But for most of the game, the Celtics were able to match the physical play of the Bulls who were, Derrick Rose's injury aside, about as healthy as they have been this season.
And that was at the heart of why Stevens, while disappointed in the outcome, was extremely pleased with the effort and fight shown by his team.
"I think this is the best we've played in the last seven games," Stevens said.