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


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."

ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats


ESPN’s Mortensen: Deflategate coverage led to death threats

In an expansive profile on The Ringer.com, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen says he and his wife were subjected to death threats because of Mortensen’s Deflategate coverage.

After the Patriots’ AFC Championship Game victory in January 2015, Mortensen tweeted information he said he received from a source that has long since been proven incorrect. The info - that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs in the game were underinflated by 2 pounds - remained uncorrected on Twitter and in an ESPN.com story for more than six months.  

The controversy over Mortensen’s reporting drew the ire of Patriots fans, many of whom blamed the tweet and his story for fanning the flames of what eventually led to a four-game suspension for Tom Brady and a $1 million fine and loss of draft picks for the Patriots. 

Mortensen, who has subsequently undergone treatment for cancer, told The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis that the threats led him to tell his wife Micki that he didn’t want her traveling with him from their home in Arkansas to Bristol, Connecticut when he did studio work for ESPN. 

“What bothered me is we’re in an era where if your wife goes onto social media, she basically reads that they want you to die,” Mortensen said. “Even after I got cancer, I got some death wishes.”

More from the Ringer story:

“My job is to protect her,” he said. When Mort himself came to Bristol, he behaved like someone who was living under a public threat. He went straight from the ESPN studio to his home, avoiding restaurants and rarely appearing in public.

Mortensen said after his initial tweet, a second source, with whom he had a better relationship, told him to used a broader description of the footballs, i.e. call them “significantly underinflated.”  Mortensen now acknowledges that information should have given him pause.

“That should have raised the journalist in me to a higher level,” he told the Ringer. “I’ve got to ask some more questions here. What are we talking about, 2 pounds under? But, no, I got to get on TV.”

Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls


Pregame Number: Perimeter pain for the Bulls

Tonight’s pregame number is 133. That’s the total number of made 3-point field goals made last season by the players starting for the Bulls tonight. Whatever the Bulls reasons for signing Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade were this offseason, floor spacing was not one of them.

Wade’s career mark of 28.4 percent from distance is the third-worst percentage among active players with 600+ career attempts, while Rondo’s 28.9 career 3-pt FG% is seventh worst. And, for what it’s worth, the new-look Bulls shot 31.8 percent from beyond the arc (21st in the NBA) this preseason, while hitting 7.7 3-pointers per game. 

Despite allowing 15 3’s last night vs the Nets, perimeter defense should once again be a strength for the Celtics. Last season, the Celtics were fourth in the NBA with an opponent 3-pt FG% of 33.6. They were 38-15 when holding opponents to eight or fewer 3’s. 

With the NBA continuing to trend towards more 3-point shooting, it will be interesting to see how Fred Hoiberg’s offense looks this season, and especially tonight vs the Celtics.