The Boston Celtics threw away a 28-point lead to lose 123-112 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night, while Kyrie Irving left the game early with a knee injury.
The Celtics appeared more than in control of the game when the six-time NBA All-Star was forced to leave the court towards the end of the second quarter, but they subsequently collapsed in his absence.
Indeed, the Clippers outscored the Celtics 75-44 following Irving’s exit to record what was the largest comeback victory in the NBA over the last two seasons.
It is also the biggest lead the Celtics have blown in over 15 years and it comes on the back of them throwing away an 18-point advantage against the Los Angeles Lakers in their previous game.
Coach Brad Stevens was left scratching his head at his team’s latest capitulation, but he refused to blame the defeat on the withdrawal of Irving.
“There’s no excuses,” Stevens told NBC Sports Boston. “Those things happen and we all have to pick up for that. So, I’ll go back and figure out what I can do better, what we can do better, and we’ll go from there.”
The defeat leaves Boston fifth in the Eastern Conference standings and they will certainly be looking to return to winning ways when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
However, they are likely to be without Irving for that contest, with the point guard set to undergo further tests on his injury over the coming days.