Ben Simmons had a horror game but he blamed himself, not the harassing Boston Celtics defence that left him with a personal tally of just one point and five turnovers.
The Celtics came back from a second quarter 22-point deficit to beat Simmons' Philadelphia 76ers 108-103 on Thursday in game two of the NBA eastern conference semi-final series.
The Celtics hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven match-up, with the next two games in Philadelphia.
"I think it was self-inflicted," Simmons said about his poor game.
The Melbourne-born rookie of the year favourite had the worst game of his NBA career with just one point from a free throw, missing all four field goal attempts and collecting five rebounds, seven assists and five turnovers.
He had been averaging a near triple-double of 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown benched Simmons in favour of little-used guard TJ McConnell during a crucial 10-minute period from the end of the third quarter and into the final quarter.
Simmons was defiant after the game, refusing to give credit to the Celtics, who threw multiple players at him.
He said the Miami Heat, who the 76ers convincingly beat in the first round of the playoffs 4-1, were more physical than Boston.
"It was mainly what I did to myself," Simmons said.
"Mentally, I was thinking too much, overthinking the plays and was not just out there flowing."
Boston guard Terry Rozier said the Celtics had identified Simmons' first option was to always pass the ball so they took that away from him, making sure they had the 76ers' other players, particularly open three-point shooters, guarded.
They also prevented Simmons attacking the basket.
If Simmons wanted to shoot from distance, they would let him.
"I'm not saying that he can't score but he wants to pass," said Rozier, who had another strong game with 20 points and nine assists.
"If we can take that away we will feel pretty good about it."
Brown said he hadn't lost faith in the rookie and was adamant about putting Simmons back into the game in the final minutes after McConnell had helped the 76ers rally.
The Celtics were led by Jayson Tatum's 21 points.
Australian centre Aron Baynes was strong with five points and four rebounds, including a three-pointer in the third quarter that gave Boston their first lead of the game.
Game three is in Philadelphia on Saturday.
In the other eastern conference semi-final, LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers took a 2-0 stranglehold in their series against the Toronto Raptors with a comprehensive 128-110 win.
Toronto's losses have come on their own court, with the Cavaliers in a strong position to wrap up the series. The next two games are in Cleveland.
James looked superhuman with 43 points and 14 assists and was backed up by Kevin Love's 31 points and 11 rebounds, JR Smith's 15 points and Jeff Green's 14 points.
It was the Cavaliers' eighth consecutive post-season victory over the Raptors.