Few would have blamed Baynes if he simply covered his head or rolled out of the way of the speeding reigning MVP. But as Westbrook raced past Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum at the top of the 3-point arc,authentic nfl jerseys cheap Baynes did the only thing that made sense to him — he scrambled to his feet then leapt to contest as a full-throttle Westbrook launched into him.
The force of their mid-air collision knocked Baynes from just inside the charge circle to below the baseline. A desperation swipe by Tatum might have caused Westbrook to lose control of the ball going up and prevented Baynes from enduring an undesirable career highlight.
Instead, the sequence displayed what Baynes has brought to the Celtics all season: A sturdy backline defender who is utterly fearless in giving up his body despite opponents routinely attempting to put him on a poster.
“My job is to try to make every shot attempt of the opponent’s as tough as I can. If that’s me putting my body on the line then each time I’m going to step up and do it,” Baynes said. “It’s fun for me. I like it when guys are focused on [trying to dunk on] me because then they’re not focused on their game.”
Baynes logs only 18.3 minutes per game, but he starts each half alongside All-Star Al Horford in Boston’s frontcourt, and there’s an obvious difference in the Celtics’ defensive intensity when Baynes is on the floor.
The Celtics own a defensive rating of 97.2 with Baynes on the court this season. That’s the best individual defensive rating for a qualifying player in the NBA this season and it’s also 4.3 points per 100 possessions better than Boston’s league-best defensive rating of 101.5 overall.
Jaylen Brown was one of the first teammates to reach Baynes as he laid face-down under the basket.
Baynes had just put his life in jeopardy when he contested a Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk attempt, and now Baynes needed a minute to, as he would later quip, make sure all his parts were in the right place.
A Matthew Dellavedova screen had pinned both Horford and Shane Larkin, nfl jerseys for cheap allowing Antetokounmpo a free run at the hoop late in the first quarter of an October meeting between the Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. Baynes left his man on the opposite block and rose up as the Greek Freak reared back for a ferocious tomahawk.