The 3-2 Boston Celtics face off against the undefeated Detroit Pistons tonight, and center Aron Baynes has been listed as questionable as he recovers from a strained hamstring. Daniel Theis, though less of a key component for the Celtics, is questionable as well with a foot sprain.
The shorthanded Celtics, projected to come into the season as a powerhouse with the return of star point guard Kyrie Irving and All-Star Gordon Hayward, seem to still be ironing out the kinks. Jayson Tatum has been impressive in his second year, averaging close to 20 points per game thus far this season, but Irving and Hayward still seem to be ramping up to what’s been expected of them.
Against the high-powered Pistons on home turf, a small ball lineup from coach Brad Stevens could go either way. Heading into tonight, here’s what the Celtics look like without Aron Baynes:
Boston Celtics Projected Starting Lineup Against Pistons
– PG – Kyrie Irving
– SF – Gordon Hayward
– PF – Jayson Tatum
– C – Al Horford
– SG – Jaylen Brown
Aron Baynes has not consistently started for the Celtics, so his absence won’t change the starting lineup. However, with Al Horford standing at only 6′ 10″, this relatively small ball lineup may find itself dwarfed by the imposing presence of center-duo Blake Griffin and Andrew Drummond.
It’ll take a lot to stop the Piston’s momentum, but the fact remains that this Celtics team is chock-full of potential. If Irving and Hayward can step up, and Tatum can continue to produce, there’s a chance the Celtics may hand the Pistons their first loss of the season tonight.
Boston Celtics 2018-2019 Roster
– PG – Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier, Walt Lemon Jr.
– SF – Gordon Hayward, Semi Ojeleye, Jabari Bird
– PF – Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Guerschon Yabusele
– C – Al Horford, Robert Williams
– SG – Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Brad Wanamaker, P.J. Dozier
Without Baynes and Theis, the Celtics find themselves awfully shorthanded in the paint, leading to questions of whether they’ll be able to outlast the bigger Pistons. Boston will have to rely on their smarts and quickness to get past the Pistons defense and slow their early momentum.