Fishing for Bass

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Fishing for Bass

After last night, it's silly to bring any sort of pessimism to the Celtics table.

They played their best game in nearly a month. Why not just shut up and enjoy?

And that's what we've done for most of the day, but before I close up shop (remember, I'm retiring tomorrow), there's one concern that's worth mentioning.

Brandon Bass.

Actually, "concern" is too strong of a word at this point. But there's no question that since the playoffs began, Bass has yet to live up to the reliable standard he's set for himself.

The stats tell one story:

Regular Season: 31.7 minutes, 12.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and shooting .479 in the field.

Playoffs: 31 minutes, 8.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and shooting .414 from the field

But more than that, Bass just hasn't been present. Do you have any real memories of No. 30 from the first four games of this series? Is there one play, jumper, rebound or defensive stop that sticks out in your mind?

I've got nothing. I know he's scored. I know he's rebounded. I know he's played some great team defensive, but he just hasn't been a factor. And this is a guy who's spent the last six month playing that reliable role for the C's. We've spent the last six months celebrating him for that. For being the rock that Big Baby never could be.

But if there's one thing about Davis, it's that (aside from his last year in Boston) he always steps up when the lights are brightest. The playoff are his time. And again, this season, he's averaging 20 points and 9.5 boards through the Magic's four postseason games.

The Celtics don't need that from Bass. All they need is what he's given (12-14 points, 6-8 boards, .01-.06 assists a night.) Game 5 would be a good time to start delivering.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)