Bass rebounds in C's win over Timberwolves

727240.jpg

Bass rebounds in C's win over Timberwolves

BOSTON Two fouls in the first quarter wasn't quite the start that Brandon Bass was looking for against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It didn't matter.
Bass' ability to rebound, literally and figuratively, was more important as the Celtics -- behind a strong third quarter from Bass -- defeated the Timberwolves 104-94.
All five of Boston's starters tallied double digits scoring, with Bass seemingly the least likely after a horrible first half in which he was plagued by foul trouble.
But the 6-foot-8 forward bounced back with 12 points -- 10 of which came in the third quarter -- to go along with eight rebounds.
"Right place, right time," said Bass who was part of a Celtics unit that outscored Minnesota 32-21 in the third.
But as disappointed as Bass was in his play early on, he was just as determined to turn things around in the second half.
His mindset at that point was pretty simple.
"Just keep playing, keep grinding, keep working," Bass said. "Things will work out."
One by one, the ball kept winding up in Bass' hands in the third and one after another, he knocked down shots -- all five of his third-quarter shots, actually.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has a number of sermon-like messages he gives to his team throughout the course of a season. Among them is giving one's self to the team, something that Rivers was told former Celtic and current Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins was discussing recently.
"When you do that, it's amazing how many good things happen," Rivers said. "Just go and play your game, play hard and kind of get lost in execution. Good things happen, and I thought that was Brandon in the second half."
Scoring has never been an issue for Bass, whose mid-range game on pick-and-pop plays is among the best on the roster.
But he's starting to become more of a force on the boards, something the Celtics needed desperately against Minnesota which came into Wednesday's game as one of the best in the NBA.
"We know we've been struggling with that (rebounding) in the past," said Bass who is averaging 5.6 rebounds per game which is tied for second on the C's with Paul Pierce. "We want to improve on that."

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

Ainge: Isaiah Thomas visiting hip specialists, no decision yet on surgery

BOSTON – The last 2 1/2 games for the Celtics have come without Isaiah Thomas (right hip) and it has certainly been a factor in Boston trailing Cleveland 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals heading into tonight’s must-win for the Celtics to keep their season alive.
 
There have been rumors that if the series with Cleveland were closer, maybe that would lead to a return to the floor for Thomas.
 
“No. No way. He’s done [this season],” Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s "Toucher & Rich" show this morning.
 
Ainge said there’s still swelling in the hip, and it probably won’t go down enough for doctors to make a determination whether surgery is needed for another couple weeks.

Thomas was in New York City earlier this week visiting a hip specialist. He's expected to consult with at least two more before making a decision as to what's the best course of treatment.
 
“Everybody agrees if there’s anything that needs to be done to it surgically, it helps...if the inflammation goes down,” Ainge said. “The recovery [time] would be quicker.”
 
The injury initially occurred on March 15 against Minnesota.
 
Ainge said he didn’t become too concerned about it until after Thomas re-aggravated it in Game 6 of the second-round series against Washington and was questionable to play in Game 7.
 
“I was worried going into the Cleveland series that he was nowhere near himself in Game 1 or 2,” Ainge said. “And Game 2 in the second quarter it was clear he was in a lot of pain. No way we could go out and allow him to play the second half.”
 
Boston was blown out 130-86 in Game 2. In the first half, Thomas had two points and six assists, while missing all six of his shots from the field.
 
Ainge said there was “a lot” of irritation and inflammation around the affected joint in Thomas' right hip.
 
“It had gotten worse from the MRIs he had before,” said Ainge, who added that it would have been “irresponsible to allow him to play anymore.”
 

Butler reaction to Gilmore signing: 'We got another good player'

Butler reaction to Gilmore signing: 'We got another good player'

FOXBORO -- Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium gave reporters their first opportunity to see both Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore on the field at the same time.

Once Gilmore signed with the Patriots earlier this offseason, there was no guarantee he'd actually team up with the 27-year-old in his fourth season out of West Alabama. But Butler wasn't given an offer sheet by the Saints or anyone else, he wasn't traded, and now together they make up one of the most talented cornerback duos in the NFL. 

"Um, nothing much really," Butler replied when asked for his initial reaction to the Gilmore deal. "Nothing much really. We got a better player. We got another player. We got another good player on this team. Anything to help the team win, I'm down with."

Depite the fact that Gilmore is the one who received the big-money contract from the Patriots earlier this year, Butler had nothing but good things to say about his teammate following Thursday's workout. 

"He brings the size and the coverage skills," Butler said. "One of the best guys in the league. Very underrated. [He's] come in, head down, working hard. Just trying to build off each other no matter what."

Butler acknowledged that the corner group, which also includes Eric Rowe, Cyrus Jones and Jonathan Jones, has some work to do when it comes to their communication, but he indicated he'll be happy to chip in wherever he's needed. The Patriots could use some help in the slot following Logan Ryan's departure to Tennessee, and Butler said he'd be open to playing inside.

"Wherever they put me, I'm gonna play that role," he said. "I'm ready to play the slot if that's what it is."