The Celtics spent their four-game road trip out West trying to chip away at their opponents’ leads. They reversed that trend Wednesday night at TD Garden, as they incrementally upped their lead over the Atlanta Hawks as the fourth quarter wore on.
It took a total team effort for the Celtics to pull away from the Hawks and log their first win since Feb. 10. Six of Boston’s players scored in the fourth quarter and five of them logged at least four points. Jerryd Bayless led the way with nine points in the final frame, while Kris Humphries was close behind with eight.
Boston’s balanced offense was something Atlanta simply could not handle. The C’s broke Atlanta’s defense down and got to the line for eight free throws. They made all of them. Boston also assisted on six of its 12 field goals in the period, an indication that the ball was hopping from side to side.
That performance on offense helped the Celtics turn a two-point lead at the start of the fourth into an 11-point victory. They led by seven with 10:38 remaining. They led by nine points with 4:03 remaining. The lead eventually reached 12 points with 2:04 left on the clock and the C’s went on to log a 115-104 victory.
Key Box Score Line
Basketball pundits had one thing to say when the Celtics acquired Jerryd Bayless in January: This guy can get really hot, and he can get really cold.
They were wrong. He wasn’t just hot Wednesday night at TD Garden. He was sizzling.
Brad Stevens inserted Bayless into the starting lineup for his first start with the Celtics. That decision didn’t pay off in a big way in the first half, as the guard scored just eight points over the first 24 minutes, but Bayless caught his groove during the third quarter.
Bayless dropped in 12 points in the third period alone. All 12 of those points were scored from behind the 3-point line, as he made four of his five attempts from long distance.
Did he cool off in the fourth? Barely. Bayless went on to score nine more points in the fourth to set a new season high with 29 points. Coincidentally, Bayless’ previous season high was 22 points, which he scored against the Celtics back on Nov. 27 as a member of the Grizzlies.
November’s hot performance dealt the Celtics a loss. Wednesday’s sizzling performance handed them a critical win to begin a five-game homestand.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics scored at least 25 points in three of the four quarters, including a 34-point outburst in the fourth.
- There were 10 ties and nine lead changes in the game.
- Jerryd Bayless scored a season-high 29 points on 12-of-21 shooting.
- Rajon Rondo dished out a game-high 11 assists to go along with 22 points and three steals.
- The Celtics shot 21-of-23 (91.3 percent) from the free throw line.
- Atlanta, which made half of its shot attempts, outshot the Celtics (47.8 percent) but still lost by 11 points.
- Boston outrebounded Atlanta by a count of 46-29.
- Each team had two players score at least 20 points: Bayless (29) and Rondo (22) for Boston and Jeff Teague (26) and DeMarre Carroll (24) for Atlanta.
- Every Celtics player who appeared in the game logged a steal with the exception of Gerald Wallace, who led the team in steals per game heading into Wednesday's game.
- Elton Brand blocked a game-high five shots.
- The Celtics scored 27 points off of Atlanta's 18 turnovers.
- Boston outscored Atlanta 18-8 in second-chance points.
- Atlanta led by 15 points in the first quarter and Boston led by 12 points in the fourth quarter.
- The Celtics attempted 14 more shots than the Hawks did.
Quote of the Night
Um, he had to go to the bathroom... is that a health reason? Brad Stevens' comedic response after being asked about Rajon Rondo's absence during the second quarterMore quotes >>