CHICAGO • Long gone is the heyday when the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls were the most feared team in the National Basketball Association, recording two "three-peats" from 1991-93 and 1996-98.
While they have not reached those giddy heights since, they have at least been competitive, failing to reach the play-offs only twice in the past 10 seasons.
But after the Bulls (6-21) were slaughtered 133-77 by the Boston Celtics (15-10) on Saturday for their worst defeat in franchise history, coach Jim Boylen felt the "embarrassing effort" was indicative that the team did not have "the internal toughness yet to play at this level consistently".
Daniel Theis scored a career-high 22 points as Boston opened the game with 17 straight points.
This was just Boylen's third game in charge since replacing the fired Fred Hoiberg, but he and the Bulls had no answer as they slumped to the bottom of the Eastern Conference amid a hail of boos at the United Centre. The stage was set when the hosts missed their first 11 field-goal attempts while the Celtics scored the first 17 points.
Bulls guard Zach LaVine was also left stumped at the manner of their capitulation, claiming he "did not know" what hit them.
Conversely, the Celtics were delighted after their biggest victory in franchise history, surpassing the 51-point margin set against the Philadelphia Warriors in 1962.
It also equalled the biggest road win in the league, set by the Seattle SuperSonics at the Houston Rockets in 1986.
After extending their winning streak to five games, Celtics guard Terry Rozier, who had 15 points, claimed the rout would "shut everyone up". He told masslive.com: "It's been very good for us, winning our last couple games, so we want to keep it going."