Celtics-Jazz preview: Bass, Rondo connection hot

Celtics-Jazz preview: Bass, Rondo connection hot
February 24, 2014, 9:30 am
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Despite coming into tonight's game against Utah riding a three-game losing skid, the month of February has been pretty good for the Boston Celtics.

It certainly has been for Brandon Bass, especially when it comes to shooting the ball. He's averaging 13.2 points per game in February which is his best scoring month of the season.

It's not just a coincidence that Bass' improved scoring has come after Rajon Rondo's minutes restriction has been limited. Of the 29 assisted field goals made by Bass this month, 13 of them came from Rondo.

"We definitely have pretty good chemistry out there," Bass said recently. "If you're in position to score, he'll find you."

And lately Bass is making the most of those opportunities from all points on the floor. In February, Bass is shooting 50 percent on mid-range jumpers compared to 41.2 percent the rest of the season.

In an effort to show he's more than just a jump-shooting, pick-and-pop scorer, the Celtics have made a conscious effort to get Bass the ball in the post more often. He has responded by shooting 53.6 percent in the paint this month, up from his 50.8 percent shooting in the paint during the rest of the season.

"I'm just trying to be as complete a player, an all-around player, that I can be," Bass said. "That's the best thing I can do for me and to help this team be more successful."

Here are some other keys to tonight's game:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Rajon Rondo still hasn't quite had that dominant night where he put the team on his back and carried them to victory. Boston is in desperate need of one of those kind of games from their captain.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Gerald Wallace vs Gordon Heyward
Wallace may be limited somewhat because of back spasms suffered in Friday night's loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Heyward's size, versatility as a scorer and just overall game will make this one of Wallace's more challenging matchup.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Kris Humphries did an exceptional job defensively on DeMarcus Cousins Saturday night. While the Jazz don't have any players who can impact the game the way Cousins does, look for Humphries to once again put his imprint on the game.

STAT TO TRACK: Among the more noticeable shortcomings of the Jazz has been their inability to rebound. They are giving up 50.8 rebounds per game which is the eighth-highest number in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Celtics are averaging 51.6 which ranks 16th in the league.