Good, Bad & The Ugly: Boost from Wallace

Good, Bad & The Ugly: Boost from Wallace
February 27, 2014, 12:45 am
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Gerald Wallace gets it done on defense against Atlanta's DeMarre Carroll.

(AP Photo)

 


BOSTON — There were several players who performed at a high level in helping the Celtics end a five-game losing skid with a 115-104 victory over Atlanta on Wednesday night

Among them was Gerald Wallace, who came off the bench to tally his first double-double as a Celtic with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens opted to start Jerryd Bayless at shooting guard instead of Wallace because injuries meant Wallace's services would be needed more at the power forward position.

While Bayless had a big game, the Celtics came out struggling mightily in large part due to the lineup change.

Stevens realized the error and put Wallace in the game at the 7:46 mark for Kris Humphries, who was having trouble dealing with Atlanta's small-ball lineup.

The Celtics dug themselves a double-digit hole, but the insertion of Wallace into the lineup led to a run in which Boston nearly doubled (23-13) the Hawks while Wallace was in the game.

And while Rajon Rondo (11 of his season-high 22 points came in the first quarter) was carrying much of the scoring load, it was clear that Wallace's presence at both ends of the floor was one of the more stealth factors in Boston's win.

To put Wallace's impact in perspective, the Celtics were a plus-25 when he was on the floor. The rest of the team combined were slightly better at plus-30.

"Gerald brings a toughness to us, and there's no question about that," Stevens said. "You know I tried to protect our rotations a little bit by not starting him ... so we went back to him at the start of the second half."

And Wallace's strong play continued on as the Celtics returned home from a winless Western trip for a much-needed victory.

"We needed this win badly," Wallace said.

And with that, here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the 11-point victory that leaves the Celtics 5-6 for the month of February.

The Good

Jerryd Bayless

There's something about those TD Garden rims that seem to bring out the best in this guy. He scored a season-high 29 points on Wednesday, surpassing his previous season-high of 22 points that came on this same court on Nov. 27 when he played for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Rajon Rondo

There was indeed more explosiveness in Rondo's play on Wednesday, tallying his second straight double-double which included a season-high 22 points to go with 11 assists. It was his fifth double-double this season.

The Bad

Perimeter defense

Boston got the victory, but the Hawks got way too many good looks at the basket and to their credit, they knocked a lot of those shots down. Because of Boston's dominance on the boards (they were plus-17), that meant fewer shots - 14 fewer to be exact - for Atlanta, which proved to be the difference in the game.

The Ugly

Injury bug

It has been that kind of year for the Celtics, who are seemingly void of at least one starter just about every game this season. Avery Bradley (ankle) remains out indefinitely, while the Celtics are also without Jared Sullinger (concussion), Vitor Faverani and now you can add Kelly Olynyk (left toe) to the list.