Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn gestures towards his players during...

Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn gestures towards his players during the first half of an NBA game against the Celtics on Wednesday in Boston. Credit: AP/Charles Krupa

BOSTON — It took all of six minutes.

That was the maximum amount of time anyone had to commit to the Nets’ 139-96 loss to the Celtics Wednesday night before realizing the Nets had no chance of walking out of TD Garden with a victory.

It was by far their worst game since Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury 11 games ago. It wasn’t just that the Nets were shorthanded and, well comparatively short compared to the Celtics shooters. For the first time in this stretch without Durant, they came up short when it came to matching the hustle and work ethic of their opponent. They were outrebounded, 57-32.

“The energy and effort we needed to beat this team, we lacked it from the beginning,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “I think we got hit first. I think it caught us off guard a little bit. They made shots. We missed some good shots early. And then it becomes a mental challenge.”

The Nets opened shooting 1-for-11, but it was on defense where everything fell apart.

The Nets, who were also missing Ben Simmons one of their best defenders, could do nothing to slow the Celtics, who opened the game shooting 9-for-15 overall and 3-for-3 from three-point range. A little less than midway through the first quarter, the Celtics took a 21-3 lead on Jayson Tatum’s three pointer and never looked back. They led by 34 at halftime.

It was the Nets’ 10th straight loss in Boston, a streak that includes their first-round sweep out of the playoffs last season. The Nets (31-20 overall) are 4-7 since Durant went down with an isolated sprain of his right knee in Miami on Jan. 8. Until Wednesday night, their worst loss during the stretch had been a 109-98 loss to the Celtics in their first game without Durant.

Tatum led all scorers with 31 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Jaylen Brown added 28 points. Both players shot 7-for-12 on three-pointers.

Kyrie Irving, to the delight of Celtics fans, missed his first three shots and finished with 20 points, shooting 9-for-18. The Nets were a minus-31 in the 31 minutes Irving was on the floor.

Nic Claxton, who has been the team’s second most dependable scorer since Durant went down, could get nothing going inside. Claxton finished with nine points, hitting three of only five shots and had just six rebounds. It marked just the second time during the streak that Claxton has failed to finish in double figures. The other time was also against Boston, when he scored nine.

“Honestly for me it’s just one of them games you flush out,” Claxton said. “If we play them 10 more times we don’t get beat by this much. We’ll see ’em again. Like I said you just take it on the chin. There’s nothing you can do about it. We got our [butt] kicked. Just keep moving on, keep moving forward.”

Without Durant, one of the best midrange scorers in the history of the game, the Nets have relied more heavily on three-pointers and layups. The Nets attempted 40 threes in their win over the Knicks on Saturday and 41 in their victory over the Lakers on Monday.

Against the Celtics, the Nets attempted 39 threes but made just nine. The Celtics were 26-for-54.

The Nets have had poor starts before, but fought to make it a game. Vaughn said he doesn’t know why that didn’t happen this time, but blamed himself for not preparing his team more.

“We’ve answered challenges before,” he said. “They hit first and they hit hard and it hurt. We weren’t able to get off the mat like we needed to and like we had in the past.”

Durant said recently on his podcast that he would like to return before the All-Star Game. The team will not get another update on his condition until early next week.

The Nets really never recovered from their Durant-less stretch last season. The team went 5-16 without him, including an 11-game losing streak.

More Brooklyn Nets

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months