CLEVELAND - As it was superhero night at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cleveland Cavaliers could have used Superman to rescue them from another embarrassing defeat at the hands of a dreadful team.
The rebuilding Boston Celtics tore up the Cavs 111-99, who lost the second of a back to back against teams that have fallen deeper into the NBA abyss than they have.
Since being eliminated from the playoffs on Wednesday, the Cavs energy and passion has been missing in action. It made a fashionably late appearance in the fourth quarter with a 41-22 scoring run, but it was too little too late.
"We've held the ball more in the last two games than we have in a stretch of four to five games. We come off a pin down, we catch, and we just hold it," Brown said. "We let the defense settle, we might jab, and take a contested shot. Watching us play these last two games, it reminds me of our first two months of the year."
Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Jarrett Jack each scored 15, but Irving shot 3 of 15 from the field to provide a trivial body of offensive work, but the rest of the team shot pretty flat. Neither Irving nor Waiters played in the fourth quarter.
"Were I continue to preach to those two guys is drive the ball, and get off of it. Drive the ball, get off of it," Brown said. "And then don't stop, but now you move and get to a spot. When you do that, there is a certain rhythm to the game. You can generate a lot of production offensively for everyone on the floor."
After a 122-100 win against Detroit, the Cavs lost against the Milwaukee Bucks, who have the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
"It's one of the things that plagued us this year, our consistencies," Brown said. "Obviously it's a little tough for these guys to be consistent with what we are trying to preach. Old habits, bad habits, creep back and slide back to us as individuals and as a team. And it results in bad things."
Boston scored 60 in the first half and led by as many as 33.
Center Kelly Olynyk tied a career high with 25 points, 20 of which came in the first half, and set a career high with 12 rebounds. Avery Bradley also scored 25 points on 5 of 6 shooting from three-point-land. Brandon Bass and Jeff Green also had 19 apiece.
"You invest so much trying to make a push down the stretch, and in our case, a couple nights ago we win a game, and we come back to the locker room, and see that is how we go out," Cleveland's Spenser Hawes said. "We have to do a better job of battling human nature, and not allowing that to impact our effort, or whatever factor it is."
Small forward Luol Deng missed his third straight game, this time with lower back soreness. C.J. Miles (left ankle sprain) and rookie Anthony Bennett (left patellar tendon strain) also did not play.
The Cavs (32-49) have one game left on Wednesday against Brooklyn.