Bass finds his stroke going into East finals


Bass finds his stroke going into East finals

MIAMI With a roster full of All-Stars and future Hall of Famers, it's understandable if a player like Brandon Bass gets lost in the shuffle.

Both of the Celtics' playoff opponents so far, Atlanta and Philadelphia, overlooked Bass at times until they had little choice but to acknowledge the 6-foot-9 veteran that was killing them with his mid-range jumper.

He's starting to knock that shot down with a lot more frequency of late, a trend he hopes to continue as the C's gear up for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at Miami on Monday.

Bass, who came to Boston via sign and trade from Orlando prior to the start of the season, wasn't sure what his role would be at first.

After competing against Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for so many years, he understood all too well how talented they were.

Beyond the talent, they knew how to win at the highest level possible.

And while Bass' talent made him an immediate hit with his teammates, all involved knew that once the playoffs arrived, it would take a different kind of mental discipline, mental toughness for Bass to be successful.

Bass had a lot of the same looks offensively early on in the playoffs that he had throughout the regular season, but the shots weren't falling as consistently as he and the C's were used to.

The pressure that is playoff basketball was certainly a factor in his offensive struggles.

After watching video, it became pretty clear to head coach Doc Rivers what was going on.

"He was thinking too much," Rivers told "Brandon is such a better player -- most of our guys are, actually -- when they just play the game and not think it as much."

Bass knows how much this season means to his teammates, and in many ways, he was trying too hard to figure out what he could do to help the team instead of reverting back to doing what they've told him they need him to do -- be Brandon Bass.

"I had so many thoughts going on in my head about what I wanted to do in the playoffs and how I was going to help this team," Bass said. "Those guys were able to comfort me by telling me it's going to be hard and to expect Game 7s."

That's exactly what the Celtics got on Saturday.

And to Bass' credit, he responded with the kind of game that you would love to have from a guy that's considered your fourth-best starter, if that.

Bass only had two rebounds, but he scored 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting along with playing solid defense.

But maybe the most impressive statistic for him was the four assists which tied his career-high.

Rajon Rondo was given a lot of credit for the two jumpers he hit -- one was a long, 2-pointer and the other was a 3-pointer -- in the fourth quarter which gave Boston its first double-digit lead in the fourth.

Bass, jokingly referred to at times as 'No Pass Bass,' was the man with the assist in both of those made baskets.

But the greatest impact he can make is simply taking advantage of whatever mismatch he has. As we've seen throughout the playoffs, his size, strength and shooting skills makes him a difficult player for opponents to defend.

In Boston's first round series against Atlanta, he was at times matched up with Jason Collins who was significantly slower and struggled to get back to Bass on pick-and-roll plays. Still, Bass only averaged nine points while shooting 41 percent from the field - both below his regular season numbers.

Against Philadelphia in the second round, Bass had the potential for similar success on most nights with either Spencer Hawes or Elton Brand guarding him. The first-round experience clearly helped Bass, who averaged 14 points while shooting 46.8 percent from the field.

But against the Heat, he'll likely be paired with Miami's Shane Battier who is starting at power forward despite spending the bulk of his career defending small forwards.

"That is a matchup I want to take advantage of," Bass said. "I want to help my team in anyway I can. Shane Battier, is a solid player and defender; I'm up for the challenge."

Celtics break ground on new practice facility


Celtics break ground on new practice facility

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- When it comes to finding ways to attract the best talent, colleges and universities often seek to upgrade their training facilities as an enticement to prospective players.
So why should it be any different at the pro level?
The Boston Celtics had a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning for The Auerbach Center at New Balance Headquarters.
“When you think he was hired in 1966 and they’re still honoring him, it’s very humbling,” said Randy Auerbach, Red’s daughter.
New Balance officials echoed similar sentiments about the legendary Red Auerbach, the architect of arguably the greatest dynasty in professional basketball.
“Red Auerbach was a true entrepreneur whose passion for winning and dedication to the sport of basketball and the Boston Celtics was equally matched with his commitment to people and his local community,” said Jim Davis, Chairman and Owner at New Balance.  “New Balance is extremely proud to join with the Boston Celtics in honoring his professional achievements and personal values through ‘Red’s House’ at our Boston world headquarters.”
Celtics president Rich Gotham cited several benefits to moving the team to a state-of-the-art practice facility closer to Boston.
Among the reasons given was the potential for the practice facility to be a potential enticement for free agents.
“Players spend more time in the practice facility than they do in the arena they play in certainly, and maybe more than they do at home,” Gotham said. “So having a place where they feel comfortable, a place where they want to spend time to improve themselves across the board … it’s all coming together in a pretty big way. The best players know it’s integral to their success that make sure that support is there, that infrastructure is there. So when we’re out talking to a player, we’re going to be talking about this practice facility we’re building. Because we do think it’s an important part of our story.”
Some of the features of the new practice facility will include:
·  Two state-of-the-art parquet floor basketball courts where the team will practice
·  Leading edge audio-visual technology throughout the facility
·  Expanded strength and conditioning, training, and recovery facilities
·  Best-in-class locker rooms and players’ lounge
·  Physical therapy areas including hydrotherapy pools
·  Sports science and nutrition facilities
·  Expanded media work room, press conference and broadcast facilities
·  A flexible hospitality area designed for community relations activities, partner gatherings and other guest events
·  Work space for the team’s coaching and basketball front office staffs
While the facility will have all the bells and whistles you would come to expect in a new facility, Gotham said there will be a balance of sorts struck between that and the franchise’s longstanding history.
“What will be clear is it will be … at that intersection of, which is a strange intersection, of innovation but honoring our tradition,” Gotham said. “This will be a building that’s state-of-the-art, moving forward. But at the same time, I think one of the things we’re lucky to have is this treasure trove of great guys who came before us who left great wisdom and great quotes. You can see a lot of that built in. Coach Stevens is big on having motivational phrases around for the guys to see every single day when they come in for practice. If those come from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, all the better. You’ll see us incorporating those kind of things.”   

Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster


Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes roster

BOSTON – One way or another, R.J. Hunter or James Young was not going to be a Boston Celtic by the end of the day Monday.
The Celtics made their choice by waiving Hunter just hours before the NBA deadline to trim their roster down to 15 players.
Hunter began to show signs of coming around near the end of training camp, but his improved play would eventually be too little too late.

This is certainly good news for Young, who like Hunter, made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Celtics. But it by no means should be seen as a victory for Young who is entering his third NBA season.
The 21-year-old is now part of the 15-man roster, but it still doesn’t address the issue of him playing better to where the Celtics might actually use him with some degree of regularity.
If not for Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will keep him out of action until next month, there was a decent chance that Young would begin the season on the inactive roster. But to Young’s credit, he showed a level of dedication to the game that the Celtics had not seen before. He spent most of this past summer in Boston working on his game, trying to get physically stronger. During the preseason, his level of commitment to improving was noticeable as well.
And when he did get a chance to play in the preseason, he did a lot of little things really well, showing the kind of improvement that ultimately put him a leg up on Hunter whom the Celtics drafted last year with the 28th overall pick.
If Hunter isn’t claimed, he becomes an unrestricted free agent who can then sign with any team of his choosing. Do not be surprised if Hunter is claimed off waivers by a team which then assigns him to their Development League affiliate, similar to what the Celtics did with Ryan Kelly over the weekend.