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Boston’s most frustrating losses of 2010

05.19.10 at 7:37 am ET
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Jonathan Papelbon's implosion Monday night is only one of many sour moments for Boston sports teams this season. (AP)

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon's implosion Monday night at Yankee Stadium is only one of many sour moments for Boston sports teams this year. (AP)

Although 2010 is less than half over, Boston sports fans have dealt with their fair share of tough losses already. With all the success the local teams have had the past decade, a sense of entitlement has permeated the Hub. We are no longer used to historic collapses and unfulfilled expectations. However, teams and players that have enjoyed copious amounts of success have hit more than a few road bumps recently.

The year is still young and we have a lot of things to look forward to, but so far the new year has been anything but nice to New England sports fans. Although they may be tough to digest, here are 10 of the worst moments from our Boston sports teams in 2010:

10. March 10: Grizzlies 111, Celtics 91

As the fans were relentlessly booing the Green at halftime, there was a real sense that maybe this Celtics team is too old and too slow to win another championship. The Big Three are two years creakier and older than during the 2008 title run, and after the C’s were annihilated by a team led by young stars Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo and surrendering 111 points, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was left searching for answers. The devoted fan base began filing out of TD Garden midway through the fourth quarter, as the Celtics looked incapable of keeping up against a younger, fresher team.

9. May 15: Tigers 7, Red Sox 6 (12 innings)

Jon Lester pitched tremendously for the Red Sox, who were looking to build a winning streak and begin closing the gap on the Rays and Yankees in the AL East. The bullpen, which had been shaky to this point, could not hold a 6-1 lead, with Hideki Okajima surrendering two runs in the eighth and Ramon Ramirez ultimately walking in the winning run in the 12th inning. As maybe a sign of things to come, the Sox offense, which was labeled as the weak link on the team heading into the season, came through while the pitching staff again faltered late.

8. Jan. 31: Lakers 90, Celtics 89

After the Lakers opened up an early 13-point lead with the inside dominance of Andrew Bynum, the Celtics flipped the script on LA and headed into halftime leading 52-47. Things only got better in the third quarter as Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo sprinted and darted their way to an 81-70 Celtics lead with only nine minutes to play. However, things progressively got worse from there as Boston’s Big Three played miserably in the fourth, allowing an 11-point lead to slip away, and the Lakers capped off the comeback when Kobe Bryant hit the game-winning jumper with 7.3 seconds remaining.

7. April 16-17: Rays 3, Red Sox 1

With mother nature stopping Friday night’s game prematurely in the ninth with the score tied at 1, the Sox and Rays were forced to finish their game the following day, then play the scheduled game afterward. The Red Sox had the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 11th inning but failed to score, as David Ortiz grounded into a fielder’s choice at home and Adrian Beltre hit into a double play. In the 12th, Manny Delcarmen allowed a two-run home run to Rays designated hitter Pat Burrell, who began the day hitting just .185 with no homers or RBI. The Rays would go on to sweep the four-game series, solidifying themselves as the best team in the division, while at the same time making Red Sox Nation a little worried.

6. Feb 6: Canucks 3, Bruins 2 (SO)

With a 2-0 lead and everything looking good for the struggling B’s, things turned upside down faster than you can say Tuukka Rask, and a promising win against a Western Conference playoff team turned into another heartbreaking loss — the team’s 10th in a row. The Bruins, who all season had a difficult time scoring goals, could not hold a lead late and lost for the ninth time in a row at home. Both losing streaks ranked second in the storied franchise’s history. The Jan. 1 Winter Classic — Boston’s previous win — seemed ages ago, and the B’s were stumbling toward the finish line.

5. Feb. 27: Nets 104, Celtics 96

In perhaps the most ignominious defeat of the Celtics’ season, the Green allow the lowly Nets to get only their sixth victory, leading to the TD Garden crowd showering the C’s with boos. Brook Lopez, Courtney Lee and Devin Harris led the beyond-struggling Nets to a surprising victory that shocked Boston and had Celtics fans wondering how much worse it could get.

4. March 18: Penguins 3, Bruins 0

The excitement level was high in Boston for the “Matt Cooke game,” but the Bruins fell flat on their faces with an opportunity for revenge sitting in front of them. On March 7, B’s center Marc Savard suffered a Grade 2 concussion when Cooke blindsided him mid-ice during the third period. The result was a firestorm of controversy that included accusations that the Bruins failed to stick up for their teammate, who would miss the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs. Shawn Thornton fought Cooke just seconds into the game, but the team came out flat-footed and got shut out and booed off the ice.

3. May 17: Yankees 9, Red Sox 7

Toiling along at .500, the Red Sox trekked to the new Yankee Stadium to begin a stretch of games they hoped would allow them to make up some ground on the Yanks and Rays in the AL East. It didn’t start out well, with Daisuke Matsuzaka surrendering five first-inning runs. However, the Sox came alive, hitting five home runs and taking 9-7 lead in the eighth inning. Jonathan Papelbon came on in the ninth, looking to collect his 10th save of the season. Things went from bad to worse as Alex Rodriguez hit a majestic, game-tying home run to left, and Marcus Thames ripped a two-run walkoff shot. For the Sox, this defeat was resounding and pushed the team back below .500.

2. Jan. 10: Ravens 33, Patriots 14

Things went from bad to worse for the Patriots, starting on the first play from scrimmage when Baltimore running back Ray Rice galloped 83 yards past every defender for a eye-opening touchdown run. Tom Brady, normally a force in the playoffs, turned the ball over four times as the Ravens dominated both sides of the ball. Baltimore led 24-0 after one quarter en route to sending the Patriots home early under a cascade of boos from the home crowd.

1. May 14: Flyers 4, Bruins 3

Not much needs to be said other than it was the most crushing loss in the history of the Bruins. Having last won a Stanley Cup in 1972, the B’s came into the playoffs as underdogs. Going up against Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in the first round was supposed to lead to a quick exit for the Black and Gold, but they hung on and beat a good Buffalo team. After going up 3-0 in the next series against the Flyers, the Bruins did the unthinkable, losing the next four to join the 1942 Detroit Red Wings, the 1975 Penguins, and the 2004 Yankees as the only teams in North American pro sports history to lose a seven-game series after leading 3-0. Making it even worse, the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead in Game 7, surrendering the game-winning goal on a Philly power play after the B’s were whistled for having too many men on the ice.

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