Celtics-Pistons review: Bass once again solid

Celtics-Pistons review: Bass once again solid
April 4, 2013, 10:00 am
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BOSTON — Once again Brandon Bass had a big night for the Celtics, and once again it will be overlooked by the play of teammate Jeff Green.

Green's game-high 29 points were huge in Boston's 98-93 win over Detroit.

But the C's having a shot to even being in position for the victory was fueled in part by Bass' below-the-radar game which included him grabbing a team-high seven rebounds and scoring 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting.

"Game by game, I'm getting more comfortable," Bass told CSNNE.com. "I'm just simplifying things for myself and helping my teammates any way I can."

One of the Celtics' more improbable wins came last month at Cleveland when Jeff Green scored the game-winning basket with no time to play. That night, Bass had a game-high 22 points (it was also a season-high for him) which, much like Wednesday's game, generated little fanfare or attention.

With Kevin Garnett (inflammation, left foot) still out, Green has become the Celtics' No. 1 or 2 option depending on how Paul Pierce is playing that particular night.

Bass is more of a role player who won't get many shot attempts, but is learning how to become a more efficient scorer when his opportunity presents itself.

And defensively, he has become more vocal on the floor which has been a pleasant surprise to head coach Doc Rivers.

"Maybe the blessing is without Kevin, we've removed his security blanket," Rivers said. "Brandon, he has to be the talker on defense now. It's great."

Rivers recalled how Bass was upset at a teammate for being in the wrong position defensively.

"And I'm thinking, 'Wow, that's really new,' " Rivers said of Bass whose defense has come under fire and criticism in the past. "And that's really nice. That's good. So maybe it is a blessing."

Bass' play was indeed one of the keys to Boston's victory which snapped a two game losing skid. Here are some other keys outlined prior to the game, and how they actually played out for the Celtics who clinched a playoff berth with Wednesday's victory.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:  Rebounding will be an even bigger challenge for the Celtics than usual with 6-foot-11 Andre Drummond in the starting lineup instead of 6-7 Jason Maxiell who is out following season-ending surgery for his detached retina injury.

WHAT WE SAW: Detroit's dynamic frontcourt duo pounded the Cs in the first quarter with a combined nine rebounds while the C's as a team grabbed just seven. It was more of the same as Detroit wound up with a plus-18 advantage on the glass which included a 25-4 advantage on the offensive boards.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Avery Bradley vs Jose Caldero.: Bradley is coming off one of his best games in  weeks, tallying 19 points in Monday night's loss to Minnesota. Although the Pistons' record leaves a lot to be desired, Calderon has an assists-to-turnover ratio of 4.18 which is tops in the NBA this season.

WHAT WE SAW: This matchup did not materialize because Calderon was a late-game scratch due to a sore right arm. As for Bradley, he has now put together a pair of solid games offensively to compliment yet another strong defensive performance. Bradley finished with 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting. He reached double figures scoring for the second straight game, the first time he has had back-to-back double figure scoring games since March 10-12 at Oklahoma City and Charlotte, respectively.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jason Terry is starting to show signs of heating up, a good sign for a player who in many ways is still trying to find and establish his niche with this team. He's averaging 10.3 points this season, but has stepped his scoring up lately with a 15.3 points per game average in his last three games.

WHAT WE SAW: Terry had a solid game overall, although he didn't shoot the ball (3-for-8) as well as he would have liked. Still, he managed to score 10 points to go with a couple of assists. In addition, he grabbed five rebounds which equalled his season high.

STAT TO TRACK: Limiting Detroit's bench scoring has to become a priority tonight. The Pistons' bench scoring ranks in the top 10 for the season, and they have been even more explosive in the last 10 games with a 36.1 points off the bench average that ranks fifth in the league.
Not having Paul Pierce robs the Celtics of not only one of their best players, but it also weakens their second unit because a player they pegged as a backup (Jeff Green, among others) was now rolling with the first group.

WHAT WE SAW: The Pistons' second unit outscored Boston's bench 25-17, with Jonas Jerebko (19 points) doing most of the damage to keep the Pistons relatively close down the stretch. "Jonas has to play with energy," said Pistons head coach and former Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank. "The points never really tell the story with Jonas' game. It's just play with energy, effort, hustle plays."