Celtics

Aron Baynes becoming Mr. Double-Double for the Celtics

Aron Baynes becoming Mr. Double-Double for the Celtics

INDIANAPOLIS -- It took Aron Baynes ten seconds into Friday’s game against Indiana to make his presence felt when he splashed a game-opening 3-pointer.

Forty seconds later, the Pacers were lulled to sleep defensively with Baynes in the corner behind the 3-point line.

But as the Celtics moved the ball from one side to another, Baynes made a beeline for the basket and was spotted by Al Horford who connected with him for a lob dunk. 

Baynes’ stout defense and solid rebounding are important to the Celtics when it comes to winning. 

But the big fella is getting it done offensively as well … and it ain’t just bone-crunching screens, either. 

Baynes’ ability to get buckets provides a different dimension to this Boston Celtics team, a dimension that really challenges teams in how to respond. 

Do you pay more attention to him and run the risk of Kyrie Irving or Al Horford or Gordon Hayward going off, or one of the other Celtics?

Or do you play him with typical minimal attention defensively, and hope that he doesn’t make you pay?

Indeed, Baynes’ becoming more of a scorer has created the kind of conundrum that only adds to the degree of difficulty that Boston presents to any foe they’ll face in the coming days and weeks in the playoffs. 

It stems from Baynes being inserted into the Celtics lineup for the last seven games, a stretch in which Boston has a solid 5-2 record and has seen his playing time spike up significantly which as you might expect, has been a factor in him being more productive statistically. 

In Boston’s 117-97 win over the Pacers, Baynes had 11 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double in the Celtics’ last five games. 

“The guys are finding me in great position,” Baynes told NBC Sports Boston. “It’s a credit to them.”

If anything, Baynes’ teammates are returning the favor when they get the ball in his hands in position to score. 

“You know it makes me feel good out there knowing that you’ve got a big that can come up and set you know, vicious screens, out in transition, get you open and is also rolling to the rim and gives you a threat at the rim.”

In addition to his scoring, Baynes also set a team-best six screen assists which led to 15 points for Boston. 

And defensively he contested a team-high 13 shots from the field. 

“It’s just great when you have rim protection on a defensive end and then on the offensive end you’ve got a big body out there that’s ready to throw it all around.”

And Baynes?

Yeah, the 6-foot-10, 254-pound center is all-in when it comes to playing a physical brand of basketball, the kind of basketball that the Celtics will have to find success against whoever they see in the playoffs. 

“It’s gonna be a fun one; I’m looking forward to it,” Baynes said.

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Celtics will return to limited practice routine starting June 1

Celtics will return to limited practice routine starting June 1

The Boston Celtics will move one step closer towards preparing for the remainder of this season, with voluntary individual player workouts beginning at the team’s practice facility on June 1. 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Friday that professional teams in the state could resume practicing soon. 

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“I know we still aren’t to the point where we’ll have our pro sports teams back playing anything yet,” Baker said in a press conference at the State House. “The leagues are obviously working hard to host games again. And I think we all hope that at some point, opening practice facilities will help make that happen a little sooner.”

Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations, echoed similar sentiments on Friday. 

“We’re happy that our players will now have the option to work out individually in a safe environment at the Auerbach Center,” Ainge said. “And we hope it signals a step back towards playing basketball again.”

The Celtics added that the workouts will adhere to strict protocols that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Workouts are voluntary & will be conducted in strict accordance with city, state, CDC, and NBA requirements and guidelines.
  • Symptom and temperature checks will be done by team medical staff before anyone enters the facility.
  • Workouts will be limited to individual (1-on-0) shooting, strength and conditioning work, and medical evaluation and therapy as needed.
  • Only essential areas will be accessed. There will be no access to locker rooms, showers, hydrotherapy, medical exam rooms, cafeteria, and offices.
  • Only four players will be able to work out at a time, each working with only one staff member at a time. There will be no more than one player per half court at a time.
  • All staff members will wear masks in the building, and any staff member working with a player must wear gloves. Players will wear masks except while engaging in physical activity. Players and staff will adhere to CDC and NBA compliant social distancing standards at all times.
  • Social distancing will be required in the building except in limited specific instances  (e.g. physical therapy), when PPE will be used.
  • A thorough cleaning and disinfection of all spaces and equipment, including basketballs, will take place before and after each player uses the building.
  • Only staff members essential to these workouts will be present at the Auerbach Center. There will be no access for general staff, public, or media. 

While no definitive date has been set for the NBA to resume play, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has reportedly told owners that the league is targeting July 31 as a return-to-play date. 

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NBA rumors: July 31 is a target date for 2019-20 season return

NBA rumors: July 31 is a target date for 2019-20 season return

Could we see the return of NBA basketball at the end of July?

The Athletic's Shams Charania has reported the league told its Board of Governors on Friday that July 31 is a potential target date for the resumption of the 2019-20 season.

Charania also reported the league discussed four return to play scenarios ranging from going directly to the playoffs with 16 teams to bringing back all 30 teams and having them play 72 regular season games (most teams already have played around 65) before the postseason. The latter scenario doesn't seem likely, though.

If the season does resume, the remaining games (including the playoffs) could be played at one location to minimize travel and maximize the safety and health of players, team employees and everyone else involved. One such location reportedly being considered is Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.

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It's important to remember nothing has been announced by the league, and plenty of details must be sorted out before games can start up again. This news of a potential target date for a season return is encouraging, though.