The Boston Celtics closed out their 2017-18 regular season with a commanding 110-97 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at TD Garden on Wednesday night, and they did it with just one regular starter who turned out to be the hero of the game.
Aron Baynes had a career night, scoring 26 points while collecting 14 boards. It didn’t take the 31-year-old long to record game-high numbers, either, securing a double-double with 18 points and 11 boards by halftime. The veteran forward made 12 of his 23 field goal attempts in the game.
After the game, head coach Brad Stevens praised the Australian big man.
“(He) has done whatever we’ve needed to win every single game this season,” Steven said, via Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “We were sitting some guys and I can guarantee you that it never crossed Baynes’ mind, ‘Do I get to take a night?’ He’s a pro’s pro. He shows up every night.”
He certainly showed up early and often, scoring 14 of his 26 points in the first quarter alone. Stevens elected to sit Baynes in the fourth quarter, and the rest of the team took the game from there with help from Guerschon Yabusele (16 points, five rebounds), Shane Larkin (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Jonathan Gibson (18 points, two rebounds).
Even Abdel Nader contributed to the win with nine points and eight rebounds.
Here are some other notes from Celtics-Nets:
— The NBA playoff matchups are finally set: Boston will take on the No. 7 seed Milwaukee Bucks after they lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 130-95.
— The last Celtics center to have at least 25 points and 14 rebounds in a game was Kevin Garnett way back on Dec. 3, 2008.
— The 55-27 record Boston finished with is fourth best in the NBA.
— Even though he sat out tonight to rest, C’s rookie Jayson Tatum became the first rookie since Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry to finish their inaugural season with at least 1,000 points and a three-point percentage of at least 40 percent. Tatum is just the fifth rookie in NBA history to accomplish this feat.