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Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks: Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes will start, Gordon Hayward off the bench

Boston Celtics bigs Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris will start against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, according to Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

That will make the starting lineup Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Morris and Baynes. Gordon Hayward will come off the bench once again, despite Al Horford’s absence with a sore left knee.

Stevens told reporters he doesn’t see Hayward as a permanent bench player as the season progresses.

The Celtics started Horford, Baynes, Irving, Tatum and Brown the last two games. That lineup was devastating defensively (98.1), and they have been solid this year as well — a defensive rating of 96.5. But the offense has nose-dived into the parquet floor, falling over 18 points from 110.5 to 91.7, which equates a net rating of -4.8. Last year, that same lineup had a net rating of 12.5 and played by far the most minutes together (354).

Other pre-game notes:

– Former Celtics first-round pick R.J. Hunter poured in 40 points for the G-League Erie Bayhawks on Friday.

– Here’s Baynes winking.

Is this news? No. Is it particularly interesting? Well, also no. There isn’t much to say before this one. The Celtics desperately need a win, and they need to look good while getting it, and then they need to use some good vibes and energy to begin stringing win after win together if they hope to finish well in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics want to win. The Hawks organization wants to lose. Neither of those things feels like it moves the needle one way or the other for Boston. We shall see.

The Celtics and Hawks tip off at 7:00 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Boston.



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