Bass hopes to bring energy, scoring off bench

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Bass hopes to bring energy, scoring off bench

WALTHAM When it became clear that Orlando was trading Brandon Bass to Boston for Bass' former college teammate and fellow SEC Player of the Year, Glen Davis, Bass solicited his old friend for some friendly advice about his new team, the Boston Celtics.

"Davis told me, he said, 'You're gonna love Doc Rivers,' " Bass recalled. "That's the main thing he said."

For Bass to hear that did come as a surprise.

He knew Davis, a second-round pick in the 2007 NBA draft, was landing in an ideal situation in Boston.

"When he first got here, I was in Dallas and I told him, 'Bro, you the luckiest man on earth,' " Bass said. "Getting an opportunity to play with KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, I just knew he was in a great position and that year they won a championship."

Bass hopes to have a similar end result in his first season with the C's.

While the Celtics will certainly miss Davis, they believe Bass has the talent and skills to more than compensate for Davis' past contributions.

"Brandon is just a real high character, high energy player," said Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations."Athletic; he's a fantastic mid-range shooter; just real active player with a lot of athleticism and energy. We've always admired who he is, as much as what he can do on the court."

The mid-range jumper, a big part of Bass' game, is something he has spent most of his life working to improve.

"I just want to continue to improve it, extend my range," he said. "Just constantly improve."

To do so, Bass has to play - something that didn't happen as often as expected when he signed a four-year, 16 million contract with the Orlando Magic in 2009.

However, the C's have seen first-hand just how effective he can be when given minutes.

When Boston and Orlando met in the 2010 Eastern Conference finals, the C's jumped out to a commanding 3-0 series lead. After winning games 1 and 2 on the road by a combined seven points, the Celtics whipped the Magic by 23 points at the TD Garden.

In those three games, Bass played less than six minutes - all coming in the 23-point blowout loss.

"I want to be one of the best, so I continue to work and stay ready," he told CSNNE.com at the time. "I'm never going to stop working and try to improve myself. The situation I'm in, it's a tough one."

Rivers acknowledges that seeing Bass on the bench in Orlando was indeed a good thing for the C's.

"He's one of those guys you really didn't want them to play," Rivers said. "There's guys on teams where, you read the paper, and you hear the coach say, 'He's not in our rotation.' And you're like, 'Phew! That's great!' And then when they play him and he started scoring, you're hoping no one saw it - but they did."

Bass' energy and hustle helped the Magic claw back into the series with wins in Games 4 and 5, before the Celtics ultimately put them away with a 96-84 Game 6 win at the Garden.

He plans to bring that same brand of basketball to the C's this season.

And his transition has been aided in part by Davis, whose words of advice to Bass were echoed many times on Monday. In terms of what to expect in Boston, Bass remembers Davis telling him repeatedly, 'I'm gonna love Doc.'"

And what did he tell Davis he had in store with his new coach, Stan Van Gundy, in Orlando?

Bass, after a brief smile, responded, "Just go and do your thing, man; just do your thing; that's all."

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – For most of his life, basketball has come easy to James Young.
 
So, the idea that in training camp he wasn’t just fighting to get playing time but also to stay in the NBA, was a jarring eye-opener.
 
To Young’s credit, he rose to the challenge and beat out R.J. Hunter for the Celtics' final roster spot.
 
And while Young’s playing time has been sporadic, he has done a much better job of maximizing his opportunities.
 
So, as the Celtics roll into Detroit to face the Pistons, Young finds himself playing his best basketball as a pro, good enough to make coach Brad Stevens not hesitate to put him in the game in the fourth quarter of a close matchup.
 
“It’s exciting to come back home,” Young, who grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., told CSNNE.com. “A lot of my family will be there. I’m not thinking about me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team.”
 
And lately, he’s getting an opportunity to do just that beyond being someone who helps in practice.
 
We saw that in the 107-97 loss at Toronto on Friday. Young came off the bench to play four minutes, 36 seconds in the fourth quarter with only two other Celtics reserves, Marcus Smart (8:39) and Jonas Jerebko (5:10) seeing more action down the stretch.
 
“It means a lot,” Young said. “He’s starting to trust me a little bit more. That’s a good thing. I’m just trying to do little things; rebound, get defensive stops and score when I get a chance.”
 
The fact that his scoring is just starting to take shape helps shed some light on why he has been buried so deep on the Celtics bench.
 
For his first couple seasons, Young seemed a hesitant shooter physically overwhelmed by opponents too strong for him to defend as well as too physical for him to limit their effectiveness.
 
But this season, he has done a better job at holding his own as a defender while making himself an available scoring option who can play off his teammates.
 
Young is averaging just 2.9 points per game this season, but he’s shooting a career-high 48.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on 3’s, which is also a career-high.
 
Getting on the floor more often has in many ways provided yet another boost of confidence to Young.
 
“I’m getting used to the flow of the game playing more consistently,” Young said. “I know what to do. It’s slowing up a little more and it’s getting easier.”
 

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

TORONTO – It’s far too soon to say if the Celtics’ decision to stand pat at the trade deadline was a mistake.
 
But the early returns aren’t encouraging.
 
Their 107-97 loss Friday night to the Toronto Raptors wasn’t because of Kyle Lowry (right wrist), who didn’t even play, or DeMar DeRozan, who played out his mind while scoring a career-high 43 points.
 
The game will be remembered by the new guys Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, both acquired at the trade deadline by the Raptors.
 
Ibaka, who was a bad fit, and on most nights a bad player, in Orlando, looked like the O-K-C Ibaka while scoring 15 points to go with seven rebounds against the Celtics – numbers that were better than his two games combined against the Celtics this season with the Magic when he scored a total of just 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
 
And then there was Tucker, who got a crash video course on Raptors playbook just hours before the game, and proceeded to show the kind of toughness at both ends of the floor that has made him one of the league’s more underrated defenders as he finished with a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds.
 
It was their first game with their new team, but you would have thought they had been with Toronto all season long with how seamless they seemed to fit in.
 
Ibaka draining jumpers, Tucker causing chaos defensively, while absolutely crushing the Celtics on the boards...their play was a painful reminder of what could have been for the Green team.
 
Both were rumored to have been in the Celtics’ crosshairs prior to the Thursday 3 p.m. trade deadline. The Celtics were lukewarm at best on Ibaka (they didn’t want what would have been a 25-game rental) and just couldn’t quite strike a deal and cross the finish line for Tucker.
 
It’s too soon to hit the panic button and rip Danny Ainge for not getting a minor deal done like adding Tucker or Ibaka.
 
Still, his players have to embrace the truth behind what transpired this trade season.
 
Ainge went big-game hunting, focusing most of the team's efforts on landing a major difference-maker, a la Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
 
When that didn’t work out, he settled for the next best thing, which was to keep this group together.
 
The onus is now on them to prove that trust Ainge has in them, was well-placed.
 
Putting too much stock in the first game after the break is a risky proposition that no one should subscribe to.
 
But in the loss, it revealed many of the concerns and weaknesses of this roster that tend to get magnified in defeat while glossed over when they manage to win despite those flaws.
 
Isaiah Thomas may be the best scorer in the fourth quarter, but he’s human.
 
There will be games when Mr. Fourth Quarter can’t get it done.
 
Friday night was that kind of game for him. He scored just four of his team-high 20 points in the fourth.
 
And as the Raptors blitzed him repeatedly with two and three defenders, his teammates failed to step up when the opportunity was there to make impactful, game-altering plays down the stretch.
 
Watching the Celtics’ defense in the second half was painful.
 
DeRozan got whatever he wanted, when he wanted it.
 
And when he missed, the Raptors controlled the boards, got all the 50/50 balls and repeatedly out-worked Boston.
 
It exposed Boston in a way that’s painful to see, especially when those inflicting the greatest amount of damage could have been in the Celtics huddle and not the one on the other sideline.