Celtics

Jaylen Brown will miss game vs. Pacers

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Jaylen Brown will miss game vs. Pacers

Jaylen Brown will miss his first game of the season for the Boston Celtics to attend the funeral of his best friend.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said they were hopeful Brown would be able to join them in time for tonight’s game, but, “we did not expect him to be here,” Stevens said.

Boston will also be without Marcus Morris who is in Boston resting his left knee.

Stevens said the starting five tonight will be Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis and Al Horford.

Baynes' play key for Celtics in 91-81 victory over Pistons

Baynes' play key for Celtics in 91-81 victory over Pistons

Aron Baynes was a game-time decision after taking a blow to the stomach against San Antonio on Friday.

He played on Sunday afternoon, and delivered one of his best games of the season which was indeed a kick in the stomach to Detroit whose fourth-quarter comeback efforts came up short in Boston’s 91-81 victory.

Baynes didn't score much (six points), but his defense and rebounding (13 rebounds) would prove pivotal in Boston's win. 

Boston (23-5) got off to a slow start but spent most of the game playing with a lead. Al Horford led the Celtics with 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Kyrie Irving chipped in with 16 points. Tobias Harris led all scorers with 19 points.

But Detroit, among the best comeback teams in the NBA, didn’t go down quietly.

Detroit (14-12), which has now lost six straight, were on the comeback trail with a 12-0 run in the fourth that coincided with the Celtics missing 12 straight shots.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens had seen enough when he called a time-out with 4:19 to play and Boston clinging to a 79-75 lead.

Jaylen Brown ended the shot-making slump for Boston with a driving basket to the lane, only for Andre Drummond to get a tip-in – his first points of the game – cut into Boston’s lead.

As Detroit fought back, the Celtics continued to make all the necessary plays which included a 3-pointer by Al Horford and a driving lay-up by Marcus Smart, the latter putting Boston ahead 89-80.

While they were getting it done down the stretch, the player of the game for Boston was easily Aron Baynes.

A game-time decision after taking a blow to the stomach at San Antonio on Friday, Baynes had six points and a season-high 13 rebounds in addition to doing an impressive job in limiting Drummond all game.

Drummond, who had 26 points and 22 rebounds against Boston on Nov. 27, was held to just six points and 15 rebounds.

Detroit opened the game with a 10-4 run, looking to pick up where they left off when the two met on Nov. 27 and the Pistons handed Boston a 118-108 defeat, Boston’s worst loss of the season.

However, the Celtics bounced back with a 11-0 run of their own and continued to play with a lead that slowly but surely, steadily expanded.

Leading 44-37 at the half, Boston scored the first five points of the third – a tip-in by Baynes, a Brown lay-up and a technical free throw by Kyrie Irving after Drummond was whistled for a technical with 10:23 to play in the third.

Boston would spend most of the third quarter milking a double-digit lead, with the quarter ending with the Celtics ahead 73-59 as Terry Rozier drained a 3-pointer that just beat the third quarter horn sounding off.

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Stevens impressed by Hayward's comments, but doesn't expect a return this year

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Stevens impressed by Hayward's comments, but doesn't expect a return this year

 In an interview with the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, Celtics wing player Gordon Hayward touched on several topics including the possibility of him returning to action this season.

"So I'm making sure that if I come back, I'm 1,000 percent confident in myself and my leg," Hayward told the Globe. "I hope more than anything I can play this season. That would be awesome. But that's not something I'm stressing about. I'm stressing about what I can do today to help myself get better."

While Hayward’s focus remains on improving enough to where the possibility of him returning this season is more than just hopeful thinking, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens reiterated that the Celtics are not making any plans for a Hayward return this season.

“He’s gotta find any motivation that he can find,” Stevens told reporters prior to today’s game against Detroit. “We’re certainly not going to put limitations on what he strives to do. That being said, we’re not planning on it (Hayward’s return this season). All that is really good; it indicates he feels really good where he’s headed and he should, and that he’s going to be fully healthy when he does get back on the court which he should. That’s the positive of it.”

Hayward suffered a dislocated left ankle injury less than five minutes into Boston’s season-opener at Cleveland onOct. 17. He underwent surgery afterwards and was expected to be out for the remainder of the season.

Boston was awarded a disabled player exception worth $8.4 million, the highest value ever for a DPE. The Celtics are likely to give serious thought to using it as the Celtics draw closer towards the trade deadline.

Also, the DPE is not impacted in any way if Hayward returns to action this season. Prior to being awarded the DPE, independent doctors deemed it “more likely than not” that Hayward would not return to action prior to June 15.

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