Bayless heats up, but it's not enough in loss

Bayless heats up, but it's not enough in loss
March 18, 2014, 1:15 am
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Boston Celtics guard Jerryd Bayless has a well-earned reputation of being a streaky shooter.

Pick a team, any team he's played for.

Portland. New Orleans. Toronto. Memphis.

The scouting report on him at each stop -- streaky shooter -- never changed.

But in case you didn't know this before, look no further than Monday's 94-89 loss at Dallas, a game that would have been significantly more lopsided if not for Bayless' fourth-quarter scoring.

He led the Celtics with 19 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter. At one point Bayless scored nine straight for the Celtics (22-46), losers of five in a row in addition to successfully failing to win a single road game (0-15) against a Western Conference team.

"It's picking my spots," Bayless told reporters after Monday's loss. "We have a lot of guys who can score on this team. If I get a good look, I'm going to take it."

While that sounds good, Bayless took a couple of shots on Monday that you only see go in for a guy who is feeling it.

And the Celtics have seen Bayless do that time and time again, although it's usually been for the team Boston was facing.

"When he was in Memphis, he kept them in a lot of games with the way he could score the ball," said Jeff Green. "He showcased it all today and allowed us to get back in the game."

Added coach Brad Stevens: "He was great. He gave us a chance to win. I thought he played fantastic, especially in that fourth quarter."

Monday's performance was yet another step in the right direction for Bayless in establishing what his role can be for this team in the final 15 games of the season.

Although he's known primarily for his shooting, Bayless arrived with the mindset of proving he was an all-around player.

"It's hard to come into a team midstream," Stevens said. "You're thinking about getting others involved, making the right play within the offense. You don't want to get too far outside of that. Sometimes you play more tentative than aggressive."

Stevens added that Bayless "did a great job of handling the basketball early on and proved he can make tough passes and make good plays. And nights like [Monday], when he gets his jumpshot going, he really can light up the score sheet."

But Bayless' performance was not enough for the victory, a recurring theme of late with the Celtics and big-game performances.

In their 121-120 overtime loss at New Orleans on Sunday, Green had a season high-tying 39 points.

Boston's 87-80 loss to Phoenix on Friday was one in which Kris Humphries had 11 points and 13 rebounds in less than 25 minutes for what was his seventh double-double this season.

The line is a long one for solid performances by Boston players that ultimately ended in defeat.

And yet players continue to talk optimistically.

But all these silver linings, every game?

Yeah, they're tired of them too.

"I feel like a broken record, talking about silver linings," Stevens said.

Sullinger echoed similar sentiments.

"Moral victories are kind of dead to me at this point," Sullinger said.

However, thinking too much about the setbacks and struggles and not as much about the small successes along the journey, can make an already long season all the more tougher to handle.

"We're not giving up," Bayless said. "Everyone is going to continue to compete every night."