When evaluating the Boston Celtics’ offseason, the addition of Aron Baynes was seen by many as just an afterthought.
Instead, Baynes’ interior play has given a number of teams second thoughts about not pursuing him because his impact on this Celtics team cannot be understated.
There are a number of reasons for why they have been so solid defensively, with Baynes’ play being chief among them.
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Indeed, his play around the rim was instrumental in Boston extending its winning streak to four in a row following Saturday night’s 96-90 win at Miami.
Baynes had six points, five rebounds and four blocked shots, not to mention several contested shots that more often than not, were off the mark.
“Everybody has their own role to play and value to add,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He’s physical and tough.”
Baynes signed a one-year, $4.3 million contract with the Celtics this summer with no true sense of what his role would be.
But he trusted Brad Stevens, believed in the system in place and it has worked out as well as anyone could have imagined for both him and the Celtics.
“I’m just really enjoying it, and also within Brad’s system he puts us in the right place to succeed,” Baynes said. “If we play within that, we’re going to do alright as well.”
The Celtics are playing well, but Baynes is well aware that this team – and his impact on it – still has room to get better.
“We’re a work in progress,” Baynes said. “But headed in the right direction.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 96-90 win over Miami to extend the Celtics winning streak to four straight.
“End of the game, it’s winning time.” And in case you didn’t know, Irving is all about winning folks. He finished with 24 points, but absolutely took over when it mattered in the final two minutes by scoring nine of Boston’s last 10 points to get the victory.
The 19-year-old continues to play at a level far beyond his youth. He finished with 20 points for the second time in just six games. To put that in perspective, among the top-5 all-time scorers in Celtics history, only one (Larry Bird who did so in just five games) had at least two 20-point games quicker than Tatum who hit the 20-or-more point plateau for the second time in six games this season.
Irving and Tatum garnered most of the headlines in this matchup, but don’t sleep on Dragic. He had an impressive game as well, scoring 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting with four assists and three rebounds.
He once again provided a little bit of everything for the Celtics. He had a season-high 16 points off the bench with four rebounds, four assists and two steals along with having yet another strong night defensively.
The Miami Heat paid him big-time this summer by way of a four-year, $42 million extension, and it’s clear why. Richardson has a well-rounded game and finished with 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting. However, the game-high six turnovers?
Boston’s defense has been really good this year, and the addition of Baynes has a lot to do with it. He had six points, five rebounds and four blocked shots, not to mention countless contested shots that allowed Boston to hold an opponent to 90 points or less for the third straight game.
It was another rough night shooting the ball for Brown who missed six of his seven shots from the field on Saturday. After his lone made basket, he was whistled for a technical which set into motion a 7-0 Miami Heat run.