Jaylen Brown didn’t pull any punches after the Boston Celtics fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a blowout 150-117 loss on Tuesday.
"We got our ass kicked, that's what happened," Brown told reporters after the loss. "You come out and take it for granted, that's what happened. We probably had it coming to us. We came out the last couple of games. We pick and choose when we want to play.”
The loss is tied for the second-highest total the Celtics have allowed in franchise history, only after the team gave up 160 to the Pistons in 1979, per ESPN.
The Celtics went into the matchup expecting an easy win with the NBA’s No.4 leading scorer this season, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, out sick.
Instead, Oklahoma City went on a 10-0 run less than four minutes into the second half to lead 90-63 and the Celtics never recovered.
"We took a deep breath and relaxed [when we heard that Gilgeous-Alexander would be out],'' Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon said. "Honestly we should know better than to come out and not play with aggression, not play with energy and urgency."
Brown emphasized that the loss had everything to do with the Celtics’ attitude, especially since the team had the home-court advantage.
“We weren't connected, didn't have each other's back out there, no help-side defense, we didn't guard our yard,” Brown added, “Those young boys over there came out and they made us look bad. They embarrassed us, they kicked our ass. That's what happened."
Brown scored 29 points in the effort, trailed by a 27-point performance from Jayson Tatum.
"It just seemed like from the top of our roster to the bottom of our roster, everybody was bad," Brown added.
The Thunder, currently tied for third-to-last place in the West, had a major third quarter, scoring 48 points on 67.9% shooting, a franchise record for points in a quarter.
"You're not supposed to let that happen," Brown said. "Whatever that means, whatever you gotta do, you can't let that happen. It just seemed like for whatever reason today, we let go of the rope completely, which I haven't seen from our team in a long time. So whatever we've got to do to get back on track, let's all get back on board."
The Celtics' next opportunity for redemption: Mavericks
Boston is still leading the Eastern Conference after the loss, but the surging Brooklyn Nets trail by only half a game.
Head coach Joe Mazzulla, who recently returned for the Celtics after sustaining an eye injury, echoed his players’ comments after the loss.
"You have to play with a sense of humility every night knowing your opponent wants to beat you,” Mazzulla said. “We have to match that, and we didn’t. We got outplayed in every aspect of the game.”
Though Boston didn’t have Gilgeous-Alexander to bolster their energy Tuesday, the team will face the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. It’s an important game if the Celtics want to keep their top spot in the East. It’s also a good test for the team’s resolve to bounce back after relaxing in Gilgeous-Alexander’s absence, as Luka Doncic is the NBA’s top scorer this season and Gilgeous-Alexander’s match in efficiency when it comes to isolation scoring.