DALLAS – Jerryd Bayless made good Monday night on his reputation of being able to shoot his team back into a game.
Without him, Boston, which fell 94-89 to Dallas in a game that went down to the wire, would have long been in the Mavs' rear view mirror.
Bayless scored 12 of his 19 points during the fourth quarter of Monday’s game. His four buckets, two free throws and two assists during the fourth quarter resulted in 17 of Boston’s 28 points.
Jerryd Bayless scored 12 of his 19 points during the fourth quarter of Monday night's game in Dallas.
Danny Bollinger/NBAE/Getty Images
“He was great,” Brad Stevens said of Bayless’ fourth-quarter performance. “He gave us a chance to win.”
Had it not been for some momentum-killing 3-pointers from Dallas, he may have actually pushed the Celtics into the win column.
Bayless scored nine consecutive points for Boston in less than two minutes of game action. Those points were all scored in the clutch, as he started his run with 3:09 remaining in the game and closed it out with 1:16 left on the clock.
“I was just picking my spots,” he said of the spurt. “I think we have a lot of guys that can score on this team and depending on who has it going that night. It’s not something I’m going to continue to press, but if I get a good look I’m going to take it.”
He took them and made them for the Celtics to keep them in contention despite Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki draining back-to-back 3-pointers for Dallas. The two teams continued to play a one-possession game into the final 30 seconds of the contest.
Boston had a chance to either tie or make it a one-point game after calling timeout with 19.8 seconds remaining. Stevens revealed after the contest that he had one goal and one goal only during that timeout: feed the hot hand.
“Really all I wanted to do was get the ball in his hands,” Stevens said, “because he was the one who was having success getting to where he wanted to go and making tough shots.”
Bayless got to where he wanted on the ensuing possession but the result was not what he was hoping for. After driving toward the basket and past his defender with his right hand, Bayless missed an eight-foot runner off the glass.
Bayless followed up his miss with an offensive rebound but Vince Carter blocked his putback attempt. That sequence essentially thwarted the guard’s attempt to will the Celtics to a fourth-quarter comeback.
“I thought he made a physical play,” Stevens said of the play. “He got the rebound. I didn’t look and see if we were sprayed out for a 3 or not. That might have been a good time to look, but that was a hard play and he made a good play.”
Regardless of the fact that his final shot was a miss, it’s impossible to look past the impact Bayless made during this contest. He single-handedly shot the Celtics back into a game that they had no business winning. He lived up to his reputation.
“You saw it first-hand tonight,” Jared Sullinger said, referring to Bayless’ rep of catching fire. “He was hitting every shot in the fourth quarter it seemed like. The shots kept getting tougher and he just kept shooting them. It was big time.”
As Stevens noted after the game, Boston needs that big time version of Bayless to come around more often.
“Nights like tonight when he gets his jump shot going, he really can light up the score sheet,” Stevens said. “We’re in a situation where points are hard to come by… We need him to be aggressive.”
As we saw Monday night, when Bayless is aggressive and his shot is on, he can lead a comeback all by himself. Once his teammates join in on the party, a comeback won’t even be necessary. The Celtics will be playing from ahead.