Bass' hard work shines through in big-stage performance


Bass' hard work shines through in big-stage performance

BOSTON Brandon Bass spends too much time working on his game for it to not pay off eventually.

Monday was indeed the night that Bass cashed in as he tallied a playoff career-high 27 points in helping the Celtics knock off Philadelphia, 101-85, to take a 3-2 series lead over the Sixers with Game 6 in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

The way the Sixers have been defending Paul Pierce, getting good looks at the basket has not been much of a problem for Bass.

The issue has been him knocking them down, something he did plenty of in Game 5 which included him shooting 9-of-13 from the field, in addition to grabbing six rebounds.

"They've been doubling Paul and we got a few good players on the team that they've got focus on," Bass said. "So they left me open (in Game 5) and I was able to hit the shots."

But Bass becoming a one-man scoring machine involved more than him just knocking down jumpers - and that's what makes his performance in Game 5 a tough one to handle if you're the Sixers.

At this stage of the game, teams don't normally make radical changes to how they defend one another. And conversely, players - the best players - generally try to stick with what they've been doing best.

But Bass clearly caught the Sixers off-guard when he began to hurt them with an offensive game that entailed more than just mid-range jumpers.

"They were just quicker to the basket, Brandon was," said Sixers head coach Doug Collins. "He didn't depend (in Game 5), strictly on his jump-shot. He made some dunks, got in the paint and what happens is that opens up the basket for you. All of a sudden that basket looks a lot bigger for that jump-shot. He must have had three, four, maybe five dunks (in Game Five)."

It was actually three dunks, all in Bass' dominant third quarter which saw him out-score the Sixers, 18-16.

Bass, who spoke at a podium for the first time during the playoffs here - or anywhere for that matter - didn't know that he had that good a quarter until someone mentioned it to him.

"It's a blessing for me," Bass said. "It's just hard work. I've been working at it for a long time and I'm just grateful it was able to pay off."

That hard work includes spending time after practice working on his game, in addition to siting around watching video.

It all added up to a monster game for Bass, one that he hasn't really given much thought to in terms of its impact on him and the Celtics moving forward.

"You know as many jumpers as Bass hit, he had lay-ups and free throws," said Sixers forward Elton Brand who had a team-high 19 points. "That's how you get 27 points, on those 13 shots."

It was the kind of performance that might make the jobs of Pierce, Allen, Garnett and Rondo easier as well.

Because they all know when Bass is playing this well, the Celtics become a difficult team to compete with, let alone defeat.

"We need different guys, on different nights to step up," Pierce said. "A lot of times they're gonna collapse on me, Rondo, KG and there's opportunities for other guys to take advantage."

Bass did just that in a game in which he played bigger than anyone anticipated, and displayed the kind of cool under pressure that even he admits probably wasn't around when he did his post-game interview at the podium.

"This is the first time for a lot of things for me," Bass said. "And I'm grateful! That's why you see all these beads (of sweat) on my forehead, 'cause I'm nervous. But I'm grateful. Like I said, I haven't thought too much about it (his big game); for me, it's just hard work. My motto is God, grind, greatness. And grindin' is what got me, ya know, to this point and that's what I'm gonna continue to do."

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.