BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics’ new stars are expected to shine in the upcoming season, but the frontcourt behind Al Horford remains one of the team’s major question marks. But even if the Celts’ preseason debut meant nothing to the standings, their big men went a long way toward inspiring confidence.
Center Aron Baynes particularly impressed in a starting role, scoring 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting and adding five rebounds and a blocked shot in just 18 minutes. He also played solid defense against Hornets center Dwight Howard, who finished with just seven points on 2-for-6 shooting.
German forward Daniel Theis also performed well when called upon, going 5-for-8 shooting for 12 points in just 14 minutes on the floor. He also pulled down seven rebounds and added a steal and a block. Forwards Guerschon Yabusele and Semi Ojeleye were less impressive, combining for just three points and eight rebounds in 36 combined minutes – but the larger Baynes and Theis achieved enough to overshadow their struggles.
Baynes won’t start every game or score in double-digits every night, but he will certainly give the Celtics a physical presence on the defensive end that they have lacked in recent years. He complimented his more offensively talented teammates after the game for the way they opened things up for him.
“We got guys that command so much attention offensively that it gives some of us a lot of space to work with,” Baynes said, via the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “I was just trying to knock down some open shots. I missed a few, so I’m not too happy about that. I’d rather reward those guys for hitting me, but it’s fun being out there with them.”
The hottest topic of the day surrounding Baynes may be Tommy Heinsohn’s interesting commentary on him during the game, but the Australian’s performance on the floor looked promising for a Celtics team in need of reliable rim protection.