Bass 'terrific' in season opener against Heat


Bass 'terrific' in season opener against Heat

MIAMI If only every game for Brandon Bass could be like the first game of the season.
For the second year in row, the 6-foot-8 forward tallied a double-double in the Boston Celtics' season opener.
Last season, Bass had 20 points and 11 rebounds in his debut with the C's at New York. 
This year, he racked up 15 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday's loss at Miami. 
"My whole thing this year is I want to be ready when Doc (Rivers) calls me," Bass said.
The one thing Bass is more than prepared for, is to enter a season having to prove himself.
No matter how accomplished Bass may be, validating his talent to others never gets old. 
He was the SEC player of the year as a sophomore at LSU in 2005, and yet wound up as a second round NBA draft pick that year.
As a pro, Bass blossomed two years ago in Orlando with career highs in just about every major statistical category. 
That wasn't enough as the Magic included Bass as part of a sign-and-trade with the Celtics in exchange for Glen 'Big Baby' Davis (also a former LSU standout). 
Bass' first season with the Celtics was yet another year in which Bass' play exceeded anything he had done previously, and the Celtics rewarded him with a lucrative three-year deal worth about 20 million.
He has arrived, right? 
Not quite. 
Bass now finds himself fighting off rookie Jared Sullinger for the starting job at power forward. 
He has maintained throughout training camp that he's not concerning himself with starting or anything like that. 
"I'm trying to do all I can to make my game better, and help this team win," said Bass, who got the stating nod against the Heat. "That's all I'm caring about now."
During the offseason, Bass said his focus coming into this year was to improve as a rebounder as well as his man-to-man defense.
"Man, you can't ever be too satisfied or too comfortable in this league," Bass said. "You always have to be thinking about how you can make your game better."
And his efforts at improving have not gone unnoticed. 
Celtics coach Doc Rivers pointed out Bass' play as being one of the more impressive performances in the season opener. 
"He was terrific," Rivers said. "Brandon had a great game. Hell, he should have played 40 minutes."
Bass said his success against the Heat had more to do with desire than anything else. 
"I was attacking the glass and just having that mindset, to go out there and defend and rebound," Bass said. "As far as rebounding, every night I have to attack."
As well as Bass played on Tuesday, he is well aware that Rivers might decide to start Jared Sullinger against Milwaukee on Friday in the C's home opener.
"I just want to play my role to the best of my ability," Bass said.

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

Celtics force overtime, come up short in 127-123 loss to Blazers

BOSTON – For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics ran into a team that played with a greater sense of desperation.

And the result was yet another defeat as the Portland Trail Blazers, playing their second game in less than 24 hours, were able to get off their losing skid with a 127-123 overtime win over the Celtics.

Boston (26-17) has now lost back-to-back games at home, while the Blazers (19-27) snapped a four-game losing streak.

In the extra session, Portland jumped out to a 117-113 lead only for Boston’s Al Horford scoring on a bank-shot in the paint and Thomas draining a go-ahead 3-pointer for Boston.

Portland regained the lead when Al-Farouq Aminu made a pair of free throws with 59.3 seconds to play to make it a 119-118 game.

Boston soon fell behind 122-118, but a pair of Thomas free throws with 44.8 seconds to play made it a two-point game.

Mason Plumlee scored with 24 seconds to play in overtime, and an Al Horford miss – rebounded by Plumlee who was then fouled by Horford – essentially put the game away with 13.5 seconds to play.

Boston found themselves down late in the fourth quarter and seemingly headed towards defeat, only to get an unexpected lift in the final seconds from Terry Rozier.

Trailing by three points late in the fourth, Boston had one last chance to force overtime so who did they turn to?

If you were thinking Thomas which is what the Blazers and most fans were thinking, you would have been dead wrong.

The fourth quarter may be Thomas’ time to shine, but at that point in the game it was Rozier’s moment as he drained a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left that ultimately forced overtime. He finished with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists off the bench.

The Blazers came into the game with the kind of potent scoring punch in the backcourt that strikes the fear into the heart of any defense, let alone one that has been as up and down as the Boston Celtics this season.

For most of the game, Portland’s 1-2 punch of Damian Lillard (28 points) and C.J. McCollum (35 points) lived up to the lofty billing as they combined for 63 points.

McCollum and Lillard both did their share of damage down the stretch, but it was their bench – specifically Meyers Leonard – whose play kept Portland in the game early on.

He finished with 17 points off the bench.

Boston led 65-56 at the half, but soon found itself in a 67-all game after McCollum made the second of two free throws.

But Boston countered with a put-back basket by Kelly Olynyk and a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas to push Boston’s lead to 72-67.

Once again the Blazers fought back and eventually took the lead 74-72 on a powerful put-back dunk by Haverill (Mass.) native Noah Vonleh.

Brad Stevens had seen enough of his team getting pushed around, as he called a time-out with 5:31 to play in the quarter.

It didn’t help as Portland continued to bully their way around the rim for second and third-shot opportunities with their lead peaking at 78-72 following a put-back basket by  Plumlee.

But the Celtics responded with a 7-2 spurt capped off by an end-to-end, driving lay-up by Rozier that cut Portland’s lead to 80-79 with 2:44 to play in the quarter. Boston continued to be within striking distance as the third quarter ended with the Celtics trailing 88-86.