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.”
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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