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Bucks-Celtics blowout gets so bad TNT briefly cuts away, somehow wasn't worst blowout of the night

Parity was not the theme of the NBA's Thursday night, and it all started with what was supposed to be the league's marquee game.

The Boston Celtics' trip to face the Milwaukee Bucks was slated as an elite matchup between the Eastern Conference's top two teams, with All-Star Boston guard Jrue Holiday returning to the city where he won a championship.

It ended up being a slaughter in the Bucks' favor. It was 41-23 by the end of the first quarter and 75-38 at halftime. The Celtics were healthy, with all five starters playing, but they just had nothing. The team went 34-of-91 from the field, with not a single starter making a 3-pointer.

Holiday, the returning champion, had six points on 2-of-9 shooting.

None of this is good if you're TNT, which was nationally televising the carnage. When the score reached 100-62, the network tapped out, with host Ernie Johnson explaining that the game was so out of hand they would look for another game to feature.

Unfortunately, the pickings were slim enough that TNT went back to the game, with the score having reached 111-73. The Bucks eventually won 135-102. The Celtics actually won the fourth quarter 32-24, so the night wasn't a total mess (... yes, it was).

So that was the first big game. How were the others?

Well, the Oklahoma City Thunder welcomed the Portland Trail Blazers and ... and beat them 139-77. The Thunder actually had a chance to break the NBA's all-time record in margin of victory after entering the fourth quarter up 116-58, but they took their foot off the gas. The record still belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies, who beat the Thunder by 73 points two years ago.

"That's our record," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said after the game, tongue completely in cheek.

Also playing were the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, who innovated on the night's theme with a blowout followed by a comeback that ultimately failed. The Mavericks, who were missing Luka Doncic, led by 20 points at one point in the fourth quarter, then allowed the Knicks to cut the lead to one in the final minute and escaped with a 128-124 win, thanks to 44 points from Kyrie Irving.

The Brooklyn Nets-Cleveland Cavaliers game saw the Cavs up by 20 at halftime before they coasted to a 111-102 win, with Donovan Mitchell scoring 45 points.

The Phoenix Suns closed the night by giving the Los Angeles Lakers the kind of loss that inspires a a social media frenzy of mockery and calls for head coach Darvin Ham's job. The score ended up being 127-109 after Bradley Beal posted a season-high 37 points.

Boston, MA - January 10: Boston Celtics SF Jayson Tatum reacts to a call in the second half. The Celtics beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 127-120, in overtime. (Photo by Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

All told, the NBA's five games Thursday saw a combined margin of 126 points and a combined halftime margin of, again, 126 points. That's a margin of more than 25 points per game, at both halftime and the end of regulation.

Three games saw only one team hold the lead for the entirety of the game. The Lakers led the Suns for a grand total of 11 seconds, while the Blazers — recipients of the night's biggest drubbing — spent a solid two minutes and 36 seconds tied or leading before getting shoved into a blender.

Even the college basketball ranks weren't immune, as UCLA fell to Utah 90-44. Let's just say it was a great night to go to bed early if you're a die-hard basketball fan.