Marcus Smart missed Monday night’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets with an illness. He was questionable up until right before tip. Aron Baynes (fourth left metacarpal) has missed about a month of action after injuring his hand against the Phoenix Suns on December 19th. According to Brad Stevens, both are expected to be back in action tonight as the Boston Celtics take on the Toronto Raptors:
Brad Stevens tells @ZoandBertrand that he expects Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes to be available to play tonight. He's not sure if Baynes will be on a minutes limit.— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) January 16, 2019
Jaylen Brown started in Marcus Smart’s place on Monday, pouring in 22 points and playing an integral role in the fourth quarter comeback that almost was. Smart took Brown’s role in the starting lineup 20 games into the season, and ever since he’s been there, the team has gone 15-7 in games in which he played. On the season, Smart is averaging 7.7 points on a career-high 40% from the field and a career-high 35% from 3.
Aron Baynes’ return will be a big boost for the Celtics’ frontcourt, especially with Al Horford’s minutes restriction to manage his knee over the course of the season. Boston has leaned heavily on Daniel Theis and Robert Williams III, but they certainly missed Baynes in matchups against the beefier centers in the league.
For the first time in a while, the team is healthy. They’ll need every advantage they can get as the losers of 3 straight games heading into a matchup with the first-seeded Raptors. The game tips off tonight at 8PM on ESPN.