Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Enes Kanter, whose role has become essential with the prolonged absence of Robert Williams, came off the bench and had 13 points, 14 rebounds, and a career-high 6 blocks. Kanter is not known for his defense, but was happy to soak up some rare rim-protecting adulation after this win. Hayward joked that Kanter had been referring to himself as a stop sign, meaning offenses cannot get past him.
“New year, new me, baby,” Kanter said with a chuckle. “Nah, it’s good to be out there, because we know we’re going to score the ball. We’ve got enough talent to go out there and score the ball, so the thing coach Brad [Stevens] is always talking about, if you want to get to the next level, it’s defensively. So that was the focus.”
Coming into this season and beyond there have been a lot of questions about Enes Kanter defensively. He doesn’t move particularly well and historically has been comparable to a traffic cone on that end. Yesterday however, Enes Kanter was exactly what the doctor ordered for Boston. He cleaned the glass, finished when called upon, and did all he could on the defensive end to stymie Charlotte’s bigs.
As someone who usually has a lot of negatives to throw out there about Kanter’s play, he’s been perfect for the Celtics this season. This team hasn’t had a rebounder/post presence like Kanter in quite some time and all of the work he’s done down low has been huge. He’s elite at keeping his spot in the post and it isn’t easy for the opposition to move him around. While efforts like last night will be few and far between for him on defense, you take what you can get from him on that end.
He has a fascinating game where he has two elite skills that both really foster everything the Celtics are all about. Those second chance buckets are massive while the Celtics are trying to stage runs and that’s exactly what the big man has been providing.
Kanter’s defensive dominance might be more of a one-night event, but he has proven that his rebounding prowess is much more sustainable. He helped Boston to a 54-41 edge on the boards that included 15 offensive rebounds and 14 second-chance points.
Six of them came during an important stretch at the start of the fourth quarter. The Hornets, who lingered for much of the night without ever really appearing to be a threat, pulled within 80-75 in the opening minute of the final period.
He’s made the most of his minutes this season as he’s averaged a smooth 8.6 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game while shooting 58.4% from the field. For a role player making $5 million dollars, you really can’t ask for better production (more defense will always be appreciated though). The Celtics had a clear void in the rebounding department this summer and Kanter has been the answer so far this season. While it remains to be seen how he fares against the league’s best or in a playoff series, Enes Kanter has been doing is thing and helped the Celtics end 2019 on a high note Tuesday afternoon.
Page 2: Where Jaylen Brown’s return is on the horizon
Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown will miss Tuesday’s matchup against the Charlotte Hornets with a sinus infection, but he feels “a lot better” and is day to day moving forward, according to Brad Stevens.
Stevens, who spoke to reporters prior to Tuesday’s game, wasn’t certain if Brown would travel with the team on Monday. Brown tried to go through the team’s practice, but instead went to the hospital to get checked out and wasn’t with the team when it flew to Charlotte. He was later ruled out Monday afternoon.
Out of respect for the fanbase I recommend we leave injuries, illnesses, and everything of that nature in 2019. The good news is that this seems like a one time thing and something that won’t hinder Jaylen for much longer. After scorching earth and taking home the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week I’m sure Jaylen is itching to get back out there. While I’m definitely not a doctor, everything points him being available Friday vs. Atlanta.