The listless Celtics fell behind by 13 after one quarter, 25 at the half and 42 after three quarters. When old friend Kendrick Perkins produced a little hook shot in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, the Celtics were down 44 and ultimately endured a 110-79 loss to a Cavaliers team that has been untouchable lately at Quicken Loans Arena.
LeBron James scored a game-high 27 points, while Kyrie Irving added 18. Brandon Bass scored a team-high 15 points for Boston, while Isaiah Thomas had 11 points but on 4-of-13 shooting in 20 minutes off the bench.
This was Boston's worst loss of the season. The Celtics hadn't endured a real lopsided loss since a 102-93 defeat (that wasn't as close as the final score suggests) against the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 19. Boston is 10-9 since that game and had won seven of its last 11 games entering Tuesday's tilt.
• Hunt for the postseason: The Celtics fell two games back of the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are 1.5 games behind both Charlotte and Indiana, who are both outside the playoffs at the moment.
• Loose balls: The Celtics emptied their entire bench in this game. ... Luigi Datome scored 7 points over 15:03, his first points in a Boston uniform. ... The Celtics shot 35.2 percent; the Cavs finished at 48.3 percent.
• What it means: The Celtics dropped their second straight and fell to 23-35. Cleveland improves to 38-24. The Green Kool-Aid view: As the Cavaliers creep toward the second or third seed in the East, an eighth-seeded Celtics squad wouldn't see Cleveland until the conference finals. Boston must dust itself off as it returns home to host Utah in the tail end of a back-to-back on Wednesday night at TD Garden.