For two minutes in the fourth quarter on Monday, Jerryd Bayless was Boston’s best player on the floor.
During that minute, he knocked down a pair of mid-range jumpers, a 3-pointer and two free throws. He helped Boston go from trailing 82-76 to 88-85. The Celtics were in the game, and it was almost entirely thanks to Bayless.
Then, with less than 20 seconds remaining, Bayless tooketh away what he had giveneth.
Let’s break this thing down. Here’s how it began:
Kelly Olynyk, in typical fashion, sets an awful pin-down screen that was meant to free Jeff Green above the break. Presumably, the play was meant to spring Green in an attempt to tie the game (since, you know, the Celtics were down by three). But Shawn Marion can defend Kelly Olynyk, so Brandon Wright simply switched to deny Green the ball. Although there were still more than 10 seconds remaining, Bayless took this as license to try to beat Monta Ellis off the dribble and score a basket worth…two points.
This decision, unfortunately, leads him directly into Marion, who has rotated correctly to cut him off. Boston’s spacing on that side of the floor is horrendous — Green, Bayless and Olynyk are now all within roughly eight feet of each other. Admittedly, this is cluster-you-know-what doesn’t exactly lend itself to a good offensive possession, so maybe we can cut Jerryd Bayless a little slack for the awful shot he takes.
Or maybe we could wish he had waited, you know, half a second and allowed Olynyk and Green to move themselves, forcing the Mavericks to make a defensive decision rather than allowing them to double-team and contest his jumper so easily. Or we could might wish he had noticed Avery Bradley cutting backdoor on Vince Carter.
But no, Bayless chucked up a borderline impossible floater with a pair of defenders draped all over him. Oddly enough, he missed.
But the play wasn’t over yet. Bayless, to his credit, followed his shot hard and came away with the offensive rebound. Once again, however, Bayless threw up a difficult shot with multiple defenders on him.
You might think, with the clock winding down, Bayless would have looked around for a 3-point shooter who could tie the game. Somebody, for instance, who the play had initially been designed for. Where is that guy?
Ah. There he is.
There’s no guarantee Green would have hit the shot, and to be completely fair to Bayless, seeing Green and Bradley would have been difficult with the bigs crowded around him.
Another difficult thing in that situation, however: Getting off a good shot, something Bayless tried and failed to do twice. That mistake is compounded by the score, since neither of the wild shot attempts would have even tied the game. All in all, not his proudest minute as a Celtic.
Which is really too bad, because the two preceding minutes might very well have been.
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