Baynes led the Celtics scoring effort with a career-high 21 points while hitting 8 of his 12 attempts from the floor as the Lakers had no answer for the man who certainly looked like all of Australia last night. 7 of his 8 makes came in the paint, and 6 of those came within 3 feet of the basket including two put-backs off the offensive glass. His only other field goal attempts came from that straightaway jumper near the top of the key we've seen him open for quite a bit this season:
There's been a lot of comparisons of Baynes to former C's center Kendrick Perkins, and while there's some similarities in the two given their size and aggressive play in the post there's one thing that really sticks out that separates the two. Aron's soft hands and quick moves to the bucket make him so much more effective on the offensive end, particularly with this Celtics team the that thrives off of quick ball movement.
I vividly remember Tommy Heinsohn complaining over and over during Celtics broadcasts when Perkins would get the ball on the block and instinctively put the ball on the floor with a dribble as if to gather himself rather than just go right up to the basket with it. Putting the ball on the floor in the post increases the potential for a turnover, particularly in "Stonefingers" Perkins' case, and it gives the defense the opportunity recover or adjust to the ball actually being in the post. Take a look back at all of Baynes made baskets last night - not one time does he put the ball on the floor after getting a pass in the post:
While the traditional center is becoming an endangered species in the NBA these days, Baynes has the ability to thrive because he's athletic enough to be quick with both his hands and his feet on both sides of the floor. His combination of size and athleticism is on full display in Boston, and as he continues to showcase his skills this season he's going to earn himself a solid payday for his next contract in the offseason.
Baynes big performance last night came against a tough Lakers front court. Brook Lopez is one of the better centers in the NBA, despite playing the last few years in relative obscurity in Brooklyn before being traded to LA this offseason, and fellow Aussie Andrew Bogut is heralded for his defense in the post.
Hopefully the C's have Horford back in the lineup for Friday night's tilt with the Charlotte Hornets, but if he does end up missing the game I'll be intrigued to see how Baynes matches up against Dwight Howard for extended minutes. Another big game from Baynes will hopefully lead to another firestorm of incredible tweets:
would you rather try to guard aron baynes in the post for five seconds or jump out of the window of a 40 story building