Celtics

Stars, studs and duds: 'Physical and tough' Baynes making impact

Stars, studs and duds: 'Physical and tough' Baynes making impact

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.

 

STARS

Kyrie Irving

“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.

Jayson Tatum

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.

Goran Dragic

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.

 

STUDS

Marcus Smart

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.

Josh Richardson

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?

Aron Baynes

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.

 

DUDS

Jaylen Brown

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.

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Celtics continue comeback narrative with win vs. Hawks

Celtics continue comeback narrative with win vs. Hawks

The Boston Celtics trail by double digits. The Celtics rally to make it relatively close by halftime. Boston continues to gain ground in the third, pull it out in the fourth.

Rinse. Recycle. Repeat.

That has been the Celtics’ mantra this season, with the latest chapter in their comeback narrative being a 110-99 win at Atlanta.

“We need to put an emphasis on playing with space and getting the ball to the other side of the floor,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It just stuck too much early on. We were staring at some post-ups that if we got it to the other side, maybe you could take advantage of.”

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Boston (15-2) fell behind by as many as 16 points against the Hawks (3-13), the second straight game the Celtics have rallied from a double-digit deficit.

In Boston’s 92-88 win over Golden State on Thursday, the Celtics fell behind by as many as 17 before rallying for their most impressive win of the season.

That said, it still shouldn’t take away from what happened on Saturday against an Atlanta team that despite their record, has shown signs of playing better in their recent games.

Players are aware of the penchant they’ve shown thus far for falling behind only to mount a furious comeback for the win.

“We don’t try to (go down early),” said Kyrie Irving following Saturday’s win which extended their winning streak to 15 straight which is the fifth-longest streak in franchise history. “Some teams, they go on runs and whether that be us giving up some easy ones or giving up some turnovers or doing things we can correct. When we do correct them, it turns into a different game.”

And that is what makes this stretch of play so impressive.

The Celtics have not played a full game; instead they have had stretches of good play that have often masked their mistakes early in the game.

That’s why head coach Brad Stevens, obviously pleased with the team’s success, knows as well as anyone that his team has to become more consistent in their play if they are to get the most out of these wins and continue to build off of them and achieve their ultimate goal – getting back to the NBA Finals.

“We’re going to keep playing,” Stevens said. “But the biggest thing is, we can’t keep digging these holes.”

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Stars, studs and duds: No lack of confidence for Brown

Stars, studs and duds: No lack of confidence for Brown

When it comes to the top backcourts in the NBA, you seldom hear about Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown.

That may soon be changing if they have more games like the one they delivered on Saturday as Boston put together a solid second half to pull away from the Atlanta Hawks, 110-99.

Irving had a game-high 30 points which was his second game with at least 30 points scored – both against Atlanta.

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And Brown, who had a strong 22-point performance in Boston’s win over Golden State on Thursday, was even better against the Hawks in tallying a career-high 27 points.

We all know about Irving who has established himself as one of the NBA’s top guards.

But is Brown on the way?

One thing Brown won’t have to develop going forward is, confidence.

He has long maintained that he believes he’ll be among the best in the league. It’s just a matter of him performing at a high level at both ends of the floor, consistently.

“I’ve always had that confidence, I can play with the best in the world,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin following the win over Atlanta which extended Boston’s winning streak to 15 in a row. “It’s just a matter of coming out, doing it. My teammates found me tonight. We had a good team win tonight.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 110-99 win at Atlanta which extended the Celtics’ winning streak to 15 in a row which is the fifth-longest winning streak in franchise history.

 

STARS

Jaylen Brown

Back in his home state of Georgia, Jaylen Brown delivered another monster game for the Celtics by scoring a career-high 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting with four 3-pointers.

Kyrie Irving

Irving had his most efficient game this season for the Celtics, tallying 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting to go with four rebounds and five assists.

Dennis Schroder

Atlanta’s best scorer delivering a strong 23-point, 9-assist performance for the Hawks.

 

STUDS

Jayson Tatum

He only had 14 points, but they all came in the third quarter and they included a few crowd-quieting dunks.

John Collins

He came into the league with the reputation of being a high motor player, and he has not disappointed. His hustle and energy led to him tallying 18 points and seven rebounds.

Marcus Morris

When the offense struggled mightily in the first half, it was Morris’ scoring that kept them within striking distance. He finished with 14 points, 10 of which came in the second quarter.

Kent Bazemore

He was Atlanta’s number two scoring option most of the night, and finished with 19 points.

 

DUDS

Boston’s first quarter defense

The Celtics can’t keep digging themselves these early holes, expecting they will turn it on and find a way to climb out of them. The Hawks led 35-20, fueled in large part by shooting 64.7 percent (11-for-17) in addition to out-rebounding Boston 8-6.

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