Pregame Post-Ups: Another Game, Another Starting Lineup
Friday, October 20 - Celtics at 76ers
Pregame: Another Game, Another Starting Lineup
PHILADELPHIA – Injuries have turned Boston’s starting lineup into a revolving door. Tonight in Philadelphia, the team will use its third starting lineup in as many games this season.
Tonight’s starting five will consist of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Aron Baynes. Marcus Smart, who started the previous game in place of injured forward Gordon Hayward, is out with a sprained left ankle.
Many would jump to the conclusion that Stevens is starting Baynes in an attempt to contain sensational big man Joel Embiid, but Stevens quickly shot that notion down during his pregame media availability.
“It really wasn’t as much [Embiid], as just making sure that we can rotate the way we want to and just focused on us,” he said.
Stevens went on to give NBC Sports Boston’s Brian Scalabrine a bit more info as to why Baynes got the call.
“We’ve been pretty good with Baynes in that group, both in practice and in the short sample size in games,” said Stevens. “Ultimately, one of the things that I want to continue to do is bring Terry (Rozier) off the bench because he gives us such a lift. Terry’s playing great, and we also don’t forfeit size by doing that.”
So this decision is equally in relation to Baynes and Rozier.
Baynes has averaged 5.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game thus far in the season. Rozier, meanwhile, has been outstanding off the bench, averaging 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals while not committing a single turnover.
Tonight, the C’s will look to Rozier for a continuation of his impressive numbers, while they’ll ask Baynes simply to hold his own at the defensive end.
Baynes has a hefty challenge. He, along with Al Horford, will be tasked with defending Embiid. Baynes has had difficulty staying out of foul trouble this season, averaging 4.5 personal fouls per game in only 17.5 minutes of playing time per game, which equates to 0.26 personal fouls per minute. If he gets in foul trouble tonight, the Celtics might also be in trouble.
Stevens clearly has confidence in him, however. The coach is calling Baynes’ number to jump into the starting lineup, and the coach is excited to continue to call Rozier’s number off the bench.
- Marc D'Amico