Boston's backup guard scored 21 of his season-high 29 points in
the second half and the Celtics snapped a five-game losing streak
with a 115-104 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
"We think we have improved as a team and we showed that tonight,"
said Bayless, who came to Boston in a trade with Memphis on Jan. 6.
"We had a day off to clear our minds from the road trip and
everybody came in and played well today."
The Celtics were coming off a four-game Western Conference road trip
that extended their losing streak to five straight. After falling
behind by 15 early, a sixth appeared likely before the Celtics
started moving the ball around and capitalizing on Atlanta's small
Bayless scored nine in the fourth quarter and finished the game 12
for 21 from the field, including 5 of 8 3-pointers.
"Everybody's been in those moments where the basket looks bigger
than other days. And you get into a little bit of a rhythm. He got
into that tonight, and the goal is to do that as consistently as
possible," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "But he's done a lot of
good things for us since he's been here."
Guard Rajon Rondo had 22 points and 11 assists and forward Jeff
Green scored 17 as Celtics topped 100 points for the first time
since beating Milwaukee 102-86, which was also Boston's last
victory. The Celtics held Atlanta to one rebound in the fourth
quarter while pulling down 14.
Forward Brandon Bass added 14 points and center Kris Humphries
scored 10 as all five Boston starters scored in double figures.
Forward Gerald Wallace added 12 points and a team-high 10 rebounds
off the bench.
Bass and Green pulled down eight boards apiece for Boston, which
outrebounded Atlanta 46-29.
Rondo played despite skipping Boston's loss at Sacramento last week
in the second of back-to-back nights for the Celtics.
Rondo, the team's captain, declined to say what caused him to not be
with the team against the Kings.
"Nobody knows the story. You guys keep making up every story you
guys possibly can," he said. "It's just my business. It's not
Point guard Jeff Teague scored 26 points to lead Atlanta, which has
lost 10 of 11 and is 1-5 since the All-Star break and clinging to
the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference at
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"We've got to find whatever we can do, whatever we need to do
defensively, offensively -- whatever -- just to get the win," Teague
said. "I don't care about scoring points or any of that stuff. I
just want to win."
Forward DeMarre Carroll had 24 points, guard Kyle Korver scored 17
and forward Elton Brand finished with 10 points and seven rebounds
Both teams were shorthanded because of injuries. Boston used just
nine players and Atlanta dressed only 10, but the Celtics seemed to
have more depth at the end as the Hawks tried to rally.
"We couldn't match their physicality. That's what hurt us. They
pounded us on the glass," Brand said.
The Celtics led 81-79 entering the fourth period and opened it with
a basket by Humphries and a 3-pointer by Bayless to pull ahead
The Hawks pulled within 92-91 when Mack made 1 of 2 foul shots with
6:43 remaining. Atlanta's struggles from the line continued as the
Hawks tried unsuccessfully to catch up to Boston down the stretch.
Carroll also went 1-for-2 from the line with 4:49 left and Lou
Williams missed on an opportunity for a four-point play after
drawing a foul while making a 3-pointer with 3:31 left and Boston
The Celtics continued pulling away late as Bayless added a jumper to
extend the lead to 113-102 with 50 seconds left.
"Jerryd's a scorer. He doesn't really need me out there to make
plays. He made a lot of plays for himself," Rondo said.
The Hawks opened the game on an 11-2 run and led 23-8 before Boston
rallied at the end of the period and trailed 27-25 entering the
second quarter. The Celtics shot 56.5 percent in the second quarter
and led 58-56 at halftime.
NOTES: Olympic giant slalom gold medalist Ted Ligety received a
standing ovation and chants of "U-S-A!" when he was introduced in
the first quarter. ... Hawks F Kyle Korver extended his streak of
games making a 3-pointer to 126 by going 2-for-2 from beyond the arc
in the first quarter. ... Boston C Kelly Olynyk (sprained toe), F
Jared Sullinger (concussion) and G Avery Bradley (ankle) all sat out
for the Celtics. ... F Paul Millsap did not travel with the Hawks
because of a right knee contusion.
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