Monday night in Los Angeles, the Celtics had built a 13-point lead in the 3rd quarter against the Clippers as they looked for a big win following their shocking last-second loss to the Suns on Sunday afternoon. But then Jamal Crawford caught fire, the Celtics lost, and Isaiah Thomas was frustrated following the game. 

via ESPN Boston:

“It’s just the way we lost tonight was unacceptable. We lost the game in the last 15 minutes of the game. We played a really good game up until the last 15 minutes. And that’s the players’ fault, the coaches’ fault, that’s everybody in this locker room’s fault. We could have done a lot better.”

The Celtics were without Al Horford for the second straight game; they were also missing Jonas Jerebko as their constant stream of minor injuries continues. That fact doesn’t lessen the sting of defeat, however, especially with the Cavaliers falling to the Heat earlier on Monday night. A win over the Clippers could have drawn the Celtics within two games of the East’s top spot. 

Thomas wasn’t happy following the Celtics’ second-straight defeat USATSI

A week ago, the Celtics took down the Cavs and had a firm grip on the second seed in the East. All of a sudden, they’ve lost two straight winnable games, and are now just 1.5 games up on the Wizards for that second seed, which would secure home-court advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs -- a factor that could easily swing a second-round series with how evenly matched the second tier of the Eastern Conference looks. 

It’s no wonder then, that Thomas was upset following Monday night’s collapse. Still, Thomas isn’t giving up hope on catching the Cavaliers for the No. 1 seed.

“We’re only three games back. It’s not the end of the season,” Thomas said. “We could go on a five-game winning streak starting next game. You never know. That’s how fast things can change. But we have to figure it out. We will. We can’t panic, but tonight hurt. It hurt me, I know that.”

Unfortunately for Boston, the road doesn’t get any easier this week, with trips to Golden State and Denver followed by a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Bulls.