Bayless explodes, Celtics end five-game losing skid
BOSTON — Guard Jerryd Bayless scored 21 of his season-high 29 points in the second half, and the Boston Celtics snapped a five-game losing streak with a 115-104 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
Guard Rajon Rondo had 22 points and 11 assists, and Jeff Green scored 17 as Celtics topped 100 points for the first time since beating the Milwaukee Bucks 102-86 on Feb. 10, which was also Boston’s last victory. The Celtics (20-39) held Atlanta to one rebound in the fourth quarter while pulling down 17.
Forward Brandon Bass added 14 points and center Kris Humphries scored 10 as all five Boston starters scored in double figures. Forward Gerald Wallace added 12 points and a team-high 10 rebounds off the bench.
Bass and Green pulled down eight boards apiece for Boston, which outrebounded Atlanta, 46-29.
Guard Jeff Teague had 26 points to lead Atlanta, which lost for the 10th time in 11 games and is 1-5 since the All-Star break. The Hawks (26-31) are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Forward DeMarre Carroll added 24 points, guard Kyle Korver scored 17 and forward Elton Brand finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for Atlanta.
Both teams were short-handed because of injuries. Boston used just nine players and Atlanta dressed only 10, but the Celtics seemed to have more depth at the end as the Hawks tried to rally.
The Celtics led 81-79 entering the fourth quarter and opened it with a basket by Humphries and a 3-pointer by Bayless to pull ahead 86-79.
The Hawks pulled within 92-91 when Mack made one of two foul shots with 6:43 remaining.
Atlanta’s struggles from the line. Carroll also went 1-for-2 from the line with 4:49 left, and guard Lou Williams missed on an opportunity for a four-point play after drawing a foul while making a 3-pointer with 3:31 left and Boston leading 103-97.
The Celtics pulled away late as Bayless added a jumper to extend the lead to 113-102 with 50 seconds left. Bayless posted his highest point total since joining the Celtics in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 6.
The Hawks opened the game on an 11-2 run and led 23-8 before Boston rallied at the end of the period to trail 27-25 entering the second quarter. The Celtics shot 56.5 percent in the second quarter and led 58-56 at halftime.
Rondo played despite skipping Boston’s loss at Sacramento last week in the second game on back-to-back nights.
Notes: Olympic giant slalom gold medalist Ted Ligety received a standing ovation and chants of “U-S-A!” when he was introduced in the first quarter. ... Hawks forward Kyle Korver extended his streak of games making a 3-pointer to 126 by going 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the first quarter. ... Boston center Kelly Olynyk (sprained toe), forward Jared Sullinger (concussion) and guard Avery Bradley (ankle) all sat out for the Celtics. ... Forward Paul Millsap did not travel with the Hawks because of a right knee contusion.