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Poor effort makes it seem like a lost cause

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We’ve been impressed with his savvy, pleased with his approach, surprised by his composure, and calmed by his optimism.

After Friday’s disheartening 111-102 loss to the 76ers, who recently snapped a 26-game losing streak, Brad Stevens had nothing left to offer. The first-year Celtics coach is exhausted, exasperated, and bewildered by his team’s lack of passion as the season winds down.

He promised this team would play hard until the end, despite being headed for the draft lottery. In the past two games, the Celtics have yielded 229 points and they turned in a putrid defensive performance Friday, allowing Henry Sims, he of the 42 career NBA games, resemble Shaquille O’Neal, attempting a whopping 18 free throws as he bulled through a disinterested defense.

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