BOSTON — Boston Celtics big man Aron Baynes could be seen grimacing and shouting in obvious discomfort after trying to absorb a charge early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers. Baynes, however, dismissed any concern about his health following Boston’s 84-74 triumph.
The 6-foot-9 Baynes got whistled for a shooting foul after shuffling into the path of Indiana’s Tyreke Evans. Baynes absorbed a shoulder to the chest -- and might have caught a bit of Evans’ knee below the belt — before hitting the ground hard while hoping for a charge call. Instead, the whistle went against him, much to the dismay of the Boston bench watching nearby.
Baynes protested then, after being helped up, doubled over in pain repeatedly while trying to shuffle off the court. Eventually, he squatted and kept protesting the call to officials before gingerly departing the court.
On the bench, Baynes scrunched his face and let out a scream as team trainer Art Horne checked on him. Baynes had left ankle and foot injuries this season that caused some concern when he seemed to be flexing that leg in the aftermath of the collision.
Baynes, rather humorously, downplayed concern after the game when asked by reporters if he had been hurting in the fourth quarter.
"I looked like I was in pain?” Baynes replied.
"Looks can be deceiving. For sure, I must have been breathing harder than normal,” said Baynes.
It was then noted to Baynes that he sure appeared to be screaming on the Boston bench. Even Kyrie Irving looked concern sitting next to him.
"I might have been a little bit emotional. That's all,” said Baynes. "One of those things. It's all good. At the end of the day, our emotion runs a little bit high. I'm fine and ready to get back out there.”
Baynes subbed back in with 5:01 remaining in the game and played for nearly three minutes before subbing out with the game in hand. He finished with 2 points and 9 rebounds over 23 minutes.
The Celtics posted an impossibly low defensive rating of 68 with Baynes on the court, according to the NBA’s box score data. Alas, their offensive rating was an equally terrible 68, offsetting all the strong defensive play while Baynes was on the floor.
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