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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Kyrie Irving's high school coach offers thoughts on Irving, Celtics

Kyrie Irving's high school coach offers thoughts on Irving, Celtics

Needless to say, the Kyrie Irving era did not go as many had hoped it would. After being acquired by the Boston Celtics in a trade package centered around fan-favorite Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and the No. 8 pick, Irving spent two seasons with the Celtics. And the results were mixed.

In his first season, the Celtics outperformed expectations in the wake of Gordon Hayward's brutal injury in the season opener. Irving was great on the floor and while he didn't play in the postseason, he seemed to have a future in Boston. He even indicated that he would return to Boston early before the season, much to the delight of Boston fans.

However, things changed during the season.

Irving was still solid on the court, but the Celtics failed to live up to expectations. They never fit together well enough and couldn't sustain their winning ways. As the season went along, Irving became someone of a malcontent and changed his tune about re-signing. Now, it is a foregone conclusion that Irving won't return in free agency and the latest rumors have connected him to the Brooklyn Nets.

While Irving's departure is likely to change the fabric of the Celtics, Danny Ainge hasn't been worried about it. And Irving's high school coach recently expressed similar sentiments and intimated that a split between the two sides would be mutually beneficial.

“Obviously the team did not achieve like they would have wanted or he would have wanted,” Irving's high school coach Kevin Boyle said in an interview with Tara Sullivan of The Boston Globe. “They have a terrific coach, a really good GM, really good players. They just didn’t jell.

“I think hopefully everybody takes what they’ve been accountable for and tries to see how they can move forward in their own careers, correct that and go forward. Usually after that, most guys, intelligent people, are going to look at it objectively when they get out of it, think what could I have done differently, and I think they’re all going to have great years.

“I think Boston is going to be happy with their season next year; there’s too much talent there."

It's certainly possible that the Celtics could be in for a quick bounce back. They have a lot of young talent -- namely Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown -- but they also have the ability to add some players in free agency. They will have somewhere between $24 million and $32 million in cap space depending on what they do with their own free agents. So, they will be able to reshape their roster and build around their young players.

Either way, it seems that moving on is a good move for both sides as Irving's relationship with Boston had just become too strained. Perhaps both parties will find success in the upcoming season.

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Al Horford finishes third in voting for NBA Sportsmanship Award

Al Horford finishes third in voting for NBA Sportsmanship Award

Boston Celtics center Al Horford was up for the prestigious NBA Sportsmanship Award at the 2019 NBA Awards. However, he didn't end up getting the award.

According to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe, Horford ended up finishing third in the voting.

In a tightly contested race, Horford fell just a bit short of the top two choices, Mike Conley and Kemba Walker, who received a nearly identical amount of first-place votes (Conley 96, Walker 94; Horford had 47). Conley ended up taking the award.

Finishing in third place is still solid and Horford certainly deserves this nod. He's one of the classier players in the league and has always been poised on the court. That's why the veteran big man is expected to see such a high amount of interest when he hits the free agent market later this month.

Right now, Horford seems destined to leave the Celtics. A handful of teams have been rumored to have interest in the 33-year-old and he will definitely be a good teammate wherever he lands.

Why C's should feel good about their future>>>>

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