Bayless' season-high 29 powers Celtics

Bayless' season-high 29 powers Celtics
February 27, 2014, 1:00 am
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BOSTON — With injuries come opportunity.

Nobody seemed to take that more to heart on Wednesday night than Jerryd Bayless, who got his first start for the Celtics.

The veteran guard did more than hold his own.

He stole the show, scoring a season-high 29 points as the Celtics pulled away for a 115-104 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, which ended a five-game losing skid.

Big games at the TD Garden are nothing new for Bayless, whose previous season-high this season came at the TD Garden when he scored 22 points on Nov. 27, 2013 with the Memphis Grizzlies.

"It [shots] just went in tonight," said Bayless whose 12 made field goals (on 21 shot attempts) was a career high. "I wish it happened every night."

Bayless is indeed one of those players who is known for getting hot at a moment's notice, and not cooling down until the final horn sounds.

"Well, you want to ride it, that's for sure," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "And 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."

One of the things that has helped Bayless is playing more minutes. Wednesday marked the third straight game in which he logged more than 30 minutes on the floor, the first three-game stretch he has had like that with the Celtics or his previous team, the Grizzlies.

Said Gerald Wallace, who had his first double-double of the season on Wednesday with 12 points and 10 rebounds: "He stepped up and performed big for us. He kind of got us going momentum-wise, offensively."

And while Bayless is known for his streaky shot-making, often those shots are long 2s. But on Wednesday, he connected on 5-of-8 3s after having made a total of six (in 18 attempts) in the month of February coming into Wednesday's game.

"He's done a lot of good things for us since he's been here," Stevens said.

And he just might get a chance to continue doing them as a starter.

The Celtics don't return to the court until Saturday night to face the Indiana Pacers.

Between now and then, Stevens admits that he will give some thought to keeping Bayless on the floor with the first unit.

"It's a reasonable question to consider for Saturday," Stevens said. "Depending on how we feel, what our roster looks like on Saturday, who's available, all of those things. I think it's certainly something to consider."

Bayless said he has given no thought to starting.

"Whether I'm starting or coming off the bench, I'm still going to try and make the most of my opportunity," Bayless said. "And just do the best I can to help this team."