Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Celtics 115, Hawks 104
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Rapid Reaction after the Boston Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks 115-104 on Wednesday night at TD Garden:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Jerryd Bayless made his first start in a Celtics uniform and made a strong case to stay there until Avery Bradley is healthy. Bayless scored a season-high 29 points (just two off his career high) on 12-of-21 shooting (5-of-8 beyond the 3-point arc) in the type of performance that used to torment the Celtics when he was on the opposite side. Rajon Rondo added 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting with 11 assists (though he had a very non-Rondo-like zero rebounds). The Celtics put six players in double figures, including their entire starting five (Gerald Wallace added 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench). Jeff Teague had 26 points and DeMarre Carroll added 24 points to pace the Hawks.
The Hawks scored 13 of the game's first 15 points and led by double digits 3½ minutes in. Although the Hawks led by as much as 15, the Celtics had rallied back to tie the game eight seconds into the second quarter. Neither team gained much separation until Boston started pulling away midway through the final frame. A Green 3-pointer had the Celtics out front 103-94 with four minutes to play. The Hawks never got closer than six the rest of the way.
The Celtics moved Wallace out of the starting lineup to start the game, but he took Kris Humphries' spot at the start of the second half to counter Atlanta's small lineup. Wallace was a team-best plus-25 overall. ... The Hawks shot 50 percent overall, including 47.4 percent beyond the 3-point arc, but turned the ball over 18 times for 27 points. The Celtics shot 47.8 percent overall. ... The Celtics dominated the glass, outrebounding Atlanta 46-29. ... Boston played with just nine available bodies as Jared Sullinger (concussion), Kelly Olynyk (toe), Avery Bradley (ankle) and Vitor Faverani (knee) were all unavailable.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (20-39) snapped a five-game losing streak, winning for the first time since Feb. 10 in Milwaukee. The team will take the next two days off before hosting the Indiana Pacers on Saturday at TD Garden. This five-game homestand rolls on with visits from Golden State, Brooklyn and Detroit.