After the drubbing the Celtics took from the Detroit Pistons on November 27, something had to change. Yesterday was very different and the Celtics came away with a 91-81 victory. It all changed with Aron Baynes starting at center and Al Horford at power forward. There are few NBA players with the size and strength to handle Andre Drummond, and Aron is one of them.

But Drummond has expanded his game and has become a good assist guy from the elbows and a decent free throw shooter. One man, even Baynes, is not going to shut down what Dre creates under the hoop and away from it. Here is MassLive's Jay King with Al Horford's thoughts on the difference:

We had already seen them once so we learned from our mistakes," star Al Horford after his team's 91-81 win. "And I felt like tonight we were much more solid. And I think it was because of Baynes. I think him being in there, I think he made the difference for our group.

So Boston's strategy was to pack the paint and force the Pistons to score from the perimeter. It worked. Detroit shot 33.3% on field goal attempts, with Avery Bradley going 5/16, Reggie Jackson shooting 0/9, Tobias Harris at 5/15 and Andre Drummond with 1/5.

In the past, defending Andre meant a physical battle inside. That still applies, but Drummond has become dangerous as a passer from outside and for his rolls to the hoop. The tweet below shows both the physical battle between Baynes and Drummond and the Celtics team effort packing the paint.

I wrote previously in CelticsLife that Brad Stevens, the Master Strategist, needed to find an answer to Andre Drummond's Pistons. Yesterday I wrote that Aron Baynes would most likely be a large part of the solution. This may be an example of why the traditional big man may never be gone totally from the NBA landscape.

In the 1960's Bill Russell talked Wayne "The Wall" Embry out of retirement to play reserve minutes on the Celtics. Some of the 6'8"-240 pound Embry's duties were to contain the powerful Wilt Chamberlain while Russell played the power forward position. It worked quite well. So did the Hordford/Baynes duo yesterday. But it was true team effort, allowing Al to come away with 18 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Brad Stevens, aka The Master Strategist, does it again.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Charles Krupa/AP Photo

Tom Lane 12/11/2017 04:58:00 AM Edit
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