Celtics' Bass shakes off previous game, locks in vs. 76ers

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Celtics' Bass shakes off previous game, locks in vs. 76ers

BOSTON If you're going to play with these Boston Celtics, there's one essential must-have that you need: thick skin.

Because at some point, they're going to get on you about something.

Brandon Bass experienced that earlier this season as he struggled at times grasping the C's defensive concepts.

He got more of the same leading up to Sunday's blowout win over Philadelphia, just 24 hours after Bass literally missed every shot he took in Boston's victory at Indiana on Saturday. In the C's 86-72 win at Indiana, Bass had two points while missing all six of his shots from the field.

During the team's shoot-around on Sunday, the C's were going over a play when Rivers told Bass, 'you'll be open.'

"And the whole team said, 'if he can make a shot,'" Rivers recalled. "So you have to have thick skin."

And a short memory, because Bass showed no signs of worry about Saturday night's struggles shooting the ball would snowball into another rough night.

He was one of the C's best players in Sunday's 103-79 win, scoring 18 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

"Night like last night, I think it happens once a year," Bass said. "You know what I mean? Since I got that out of the way, I can move in the right direction."

Bass' teammates weren't surprised that he was able to bounce back so quickly.

"He doesn't lack confidence," said C's Captain Paul Pierce. "He plays within the flow of the offense. A lot of things we do involve him picking and popping, getting to a spot, driving to the hole he knows he can knock those shots down. He had a tough night (Saturday night), but when you get the win you don't think about it. He was able to bounce back and have an outstanding game (against Philadelphia)."

Bass said he did modify his preparation for Sunday's game.

"I did a little less preparation," he said. "Sometimes I'll be overdoing it with my workout before the game, but I cut back a little bit today and it paid off for me."

And he hopes to continue having strong games shooting the ball, well aware that if he doesn't he'll hear about it.

"This is the life around here," said a grinning Bass. "If you shoot the ball terrible around here, you'll hear it, starting with Doc; Doc let me hear it. He was like, 'you gonna make one tonight?' I told him, 'that's the plan.'"

But the chatter is just as prevalent on nights like Sunday when Bass seemed like he wasn't going to miss.

"Everybody let me know, 'way to play' KG always the first one to tell me, (Rajon) Rondo or Doc. Everybody's excited to see me play well."

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.