Baynes Drubs Drummond, Leads C’s Past Pistons

DETROIT – Andre Drummond had his way with the Boston Celtics two weeks ago when he logged 26 points on 10-of-12 shooting, 22 rebounds, six assists and four steals during a 118-108 win at TD Garden.

During Sunday’s rematch in Detroit, it was the Celtics who had their way with Drummond, as he was held to a season-low six points on 1-of-5 shooting, to go along with 15 rebounds and just one assist.

What was the difference this time around?

“(Aron) Baynes,” answered Celtics forward Al Horford. “He made the difference for our group.”

All of Australia was too much for Drummond and the Pistons to handle, as Boston’s 6-foot-10, 260-pound Aussie center led his squad to a 91-81 win at Little Caesars Arena. Baynes finished with six points and a season-high 13 rebounds against his former team, while leading the defense to its best effort of the season

“We were trying to pack the paint and make them make plays from outside,” said Baynes, who played a season-high 27 minutes, after playing just 13 minutes during the previous matchup against Detroit. “Last time, they really had whatever they wanted inside the paint, so tonight we wanted to go out there and try to control it a lot better. Five guys were working on a string for most of the night, which is always fun to play defense like that.”

It was especially fun for Horford, who benefitted from having another big, strong body playing next to him for most of the game.

“He really takes a lot of pressure off of me,” said Horford, who scored a team-high 18 points, along with nine rebounds and a game-best six assists. “He knows how to play against a guy like [Drummond], and he did a great job for us tonight rebounding the ball and just being there defensively for our team. It was one of his better games for us this year.”

It was an extra-special game for Baynes because it was his first homecoming to Detroit, after parting ways with the Pistons this past summer via free agency. He spent his previous two years in Motor City, and is still friendly with many of Detroit’s players.

“We’re all competitors and we want to go out there and play well,” said Baynes, “but it’s always fun to go out there and play against a bunch of guys that you know and have been tight with for a few years.”

Drummond was one of the players that Baynes grew close to, as the large duo often shared the Pistons’ frontcourt.

“He’s the best rebounder in this league, for sure,” said Baynes. “He’s going to go out there and he can make some really good plays.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Baynes was able to make some really good plays, as well.

“They’re just two big individuals that are battling down low,” observed C’s point guard Kyrie Irving. “[Baynes] was doing his job to stick to the game plan while also understanding that we gotta keep Andre off the boards. And I think he did a great job of that.”

One of Baynes’ jobs was to shut off the lob, after Drummond converted on multiple alley-oop dunks during the last meeting. Thanks to Baynes’ defense, the lob didn’t exist for Detroit Sunday evening. Drummond couldn’t even get a good look at the basket, as he was held scoreless until the 3:36 mark of the fourth quarter when he tipped in his only field goal of the game.

“We learned from our mistakes and I felt like tonight we were much more solid,” said Horford. “It was because of Baynes. I just think him being in there, he made the difference for our group.”