The Philadelphia Sixers failed to rise to the occasion against the Pistons in Detroit, and fell 97-110. Less noticed in this victory, might be the way Pistons big man Aron Baynes delivered yet another amazingly efficient performance, despite having played less than 12 minutes.
On to the numbers: Baynes shot 4 of 6 from the field tonight in 11:45 of playing time, and sank all 4 of his free throw attempts to record 12 points, along with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and only 1 personal foul. (A random but fun sequence there if you hadn't noticed: 4, 3, 2, 1.)
The second quarter was where Baynes did early damage, especially from the charity stripe. He was taken out of the game shortly after leading a spirited Detroit run that saw the team shave a 9-point deficit down to 3.
He later returned at the start of the fourth quarter to swish a flurry of jumpers, and facilitate his teammates with some timely assists.
Baynes scored most of his buckets off catch and shoot sequences, lurking just outside the paint and waiting for the opportunistic short jumper. It might be worth noting that those shots have been a staple in Baynes' arsenal for a while, and strangely enough, the Sixers defenders seemed to be happy leaving him undefended for the open shots.
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It might be entirely possible that the Pistons made their best offseason signing in Aron Baynes over the summer. Despite his sporadic minutes, the Big Banger has given the Detroit bench a solid defensive presence, an underrated passing eye and a proficient mid-range shooting presence.
The poster lowlight
There was a lowlight poster moment courtesy of Jerami Grant, which meant little in the grand scheme of things. Baynes did his job as help defense, got there slightly late and allowed the dunk.
No shame in that defense, surely.
Aron Baynes has proven himself worthy of more playing time, but Stan Van Gundy continues to rein the center's minutes in.
Andre Drummond's breakout performance is one reason, but the challenge of playing Drummond and Baynes together might be another cause. When looking at the Pistons' list of 5-man lineups this season, Baynes has never actually been featured alongside Drummond. That decision has unsurprisingly, restricted Baynes' playing options tremendously.
Is there more potential minutes for Baynes in the days ahead? Barring a change of mind from coach Van Gundy, perhaps in response to Drummond's growing personal foul woes (he averages 3.1 fouls a game), the Banger's minutes might just remain as they are for the rest of the season.