Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: Baynes delivers with Horford out

Stars, studs and duds: Baynes delivers with Horford out

BOSTON – When the Boston Celtics signed Aron Baynes, they did so because of his toughness, his physicality and his overall awareness defensively.

But in the short time he has been with the Celtics, he has shown that he can deliver in other areas as well – namely scoring.

With Al Horford (concussion protocol) out, Baynes stepped up and delivered his best scoring game of the season in helping Boston keep its league-best winning streak alive with a 107-96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Baynes finished with a career-high-tying 21 points as Boston (10-2) won its 10th straight game after beginning the season with back-to-back losses.

And while it was yet another all-hands-on-deck kind of game for the Celtics, there’s no mistaking the importance of Baynes’ play.

“Aron was great,” said coach Brad Stevens. “He did a good job rolling all night, and sealing, and finishing in and around the paint. Had a couple of put-backs, and did a good job.”

Even though Baynes had one of the greatest scoring nights of his career – he has scored 20 or more points just three times in 300-plus games in the NBA – he credits much of his success offensively against the Lakers to his teammates.

“I think we are just great creators on this team,” Baynes said. “I just found myself in the right position, I was just trying to make the right play and trying to finish as best I could. It’s a compliment to the other guys on the team getting me the ball in great position; Marcus (Smart), Kyrie (Irving) all those guys looking for me and I appreciate it.”

Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday’s 107-96 win by Boston over the Los Angeles Lakers who have now lost four straight to the Celtics – something that has not happened since the mid-1970s.

STARS

Aron Baynes: You figured he would play more with Al Horford (concussion) out, but no one could have anticipated the 6-foot-10 big man would show out like he did on Wednesday. Baynes had a career-high-tying 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting to go with eight rebounds and three assists – similar production to what Horford has delivered most of this season.

Jordan Clarkson: Always an aggressive scorer, Clarkson was instrumental in the Lakers rallying to make the game close in the second half which is when he scored 11 of his team-high-tying 18 points.

Kyrie Irving: He did not shoot the ball well (7-for-21), but delivered a slew of mesmerizing plays with the ball and still managed to score 19 points to go with six rebounds and five assists.

Brandon Ingram: He did a nice job most of the game generating offense for himself as well as contributing on the boards. He finished with 18 points on an efficient 7-for-11 shooting along with grabbing seven rebounds.

STUDS

Marcus Morris: Making his second start of the season, Morris was a difference-maker during his time on the floor. He would score a season-high 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting and do so in under 25 minutes of playing time.

Julius Randle: It seems no matter who the opponent, Randle plays with a high energy level coming off the bench. He had 16 points on 5-for-9 shooting while playing just over 21 minutes. He was the only Lakers player to have a positive plus/minus (+5) on Wednesday.

DUDS

Lakers veterans: The Lakers don’t play their veterans much, so when they do get on the floor they need to make an impact. That was not the case on Wednesday with Corey Brewer and Andrew Bogut combining to score just three points on 1-for-5 shooting but just as significant, Los Angeles had a plus/minus of -10 when Brewer was on the floor and -12 when Bogut played. Their ineffective play was just one of the many issues that factored into the Lakers loss.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the Magic at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Time for Streak 2.0?

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

Mapping out the Celtics' next super long win streak

That Celtics win streak was dope. Let’s map out an even longer one that probably won’t happen. 

Nobody’s actually expecting them to keep the pace they’ve established with their recently concluded run. Still, with 63 games remaining, there’s still time for the Celtics to have up to three win streaks of even longer than 16 games. So, because it’s the holidays and the holidays are all about positivity (fun move you’ve probably picked up from movies: You can say “the holidays are all about _____” and just put in whatever you want and it will work), let’s map out the next win streak. 

MORE CELTICS:

A big part of the Celtics’ 16-gamer (and get ready to say “duh”) is that they were better than a lot of the teams they beat. But they also beat one team that was without question better than them and beat a few teams that could certainly beat them on any given night. 

Here’s a rough breakdown of the 16 games: 

- Even if they didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated, nine games were against what could be classified as easy prey based on their rosters and how those teams were playing: The 76ers, the Knicks, the Kings, the Hawks twice, the Lakers, the Hornets, the Nets and the Mavericks. 

- Let’s say that the Heat (whom they played and beat during the streak before Miami snapped the streak Wednesday) and Magic weren’t perceived pushovers, but rather unremarkable opponents. 

- Four games were against what one could call worthy opponents for the Celtics: the Bucks, the Spurs (though they were missing Kawhi Leonard), the Thunder and the Raptors. 

- Nobody was ever pretending the Celtics were actually better than the Warriors. 

So that breaks the 16 games into one game against an unequivocally superior opponent, four against worthy opponents, two against unremarkable teams, and nine joke books. 

Of course, there are several variables that can be thrown into that, such as the fact that the C’s beat one of the aforementioned good teams (Toronto) without Kyrie Irving and nearly lost to two of those trash teams (Charlotte and Dallas). You can’t predict injuries just like you shouldn’t predict win streaks, but let’s take all the information we have and try to find the next one:

STARTING FRIDAY

Friday vs. Magic (trash; probable win)

Saturday at Pacers (unremarkable; potential loss)

A back-to-back after a holiday with the second game on the road against a team that’s been way better than expected? I don’t like the sound of it. 

Nov. 27 vs. Pistons (worthy opponent; potential loss)

Are they overrated? Maybe, but Pistons currently hold the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Whether it’s the Pacers or the Pistons, I think this short stretch prevents a speed bump. The streak might have to wait. 

STARTING NOV. 30

Nov. 30 against Sixers (upgraded to unremarkable based on recent play; still win)

Remember: The last streak started against the Sixers. Hopefully, Kyrie pays that fans’ way to Boston for a halftime reunion. 

Dec. 2 vs. Suns (trash; win)

Dec. 4 vs. Bucks (worthy opponent; win)

Celtics aren’t losing to those sons of guns twice at home. 

Dec. 6 vs. Dallas (trash; win)

Can you get revenge on a team for almost beating you? Yes. The Celtics will. 

Dec. 8 at Spurs (worthy opponent; win)

Until I see Kawhi on the court, this one is a win. 

Dec. 10 at Detroit (worthy opponent; win)

The Pistons play the Spurs, Bucks and Warriors the three previous games. They’ll be all tuckered out. 

Dec. 11 through Dec. 23 (mix of unremarkable and trash opponents; seven wins)

Dec. 25 vs. Wizards (worthy opponent; win)

Terry Rozier becomes a household name with a Christmas performance for the ages. 

Dec. 27 at Charlotte (trash; win) 

Dec. 28 vs. Houston (worthy opponent; win) 

Dec. 31 vs. Brooklyn (trash; loss)

The Celtics are 0-1 the days prior to holidays this season. The streak ends at 18. 

THE REST OF THE SEASON

We'll assess it then, but for now, let's say undefeated (including playoffs).