Bass starting early on second-half improvements

939621.jpg

Bass starting early on second-half improvements

BOSTON -- Brandon Bass sat at his locker before the Celtics game against the Bulls and mapped out his to-do for the second half of the season.

"I want to do everything," he said. "I want to be a better rebounder in the second half, I want to be more consistent offensively, and help the team get more wins."

Bass got a head start Wednesday night in the Celtics final game before the All-Star Break.

He led all players with 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a team-high 40 minutes as the Celtics beat the Bulls, 71-69. During a two-minute sequence early in the fourth quarter, Bass hit two free throws, nabbed a steal then slammed a fast break dunk, and hit a 19-foot jump shot to cut the Celtics deficit to just three.

"I just think I was playing hard," he said. "I was doing our coverages and just playing with a lot of energy."

The power forward also defied his nickname, "No Pass Bass" and dished an assist to Kevin Garnett with 19.8 seconds left and helped put the Celtics up by three. It was only his 49th assist in 52 games.

"I think it's OK for you to call me something else," he laughed, suggesting his rap artist name, Best Bet Bass instead.

Bass has been looking to step his game up all season, and knew it was not optional on Wednesday. Before the game head coach Doc Rivers said he wanted to limit Garnett's minutes (he played 26), and there was a chance he wasn't going to play the veteran at all.

"I just kind of put it in my head that I had to play a lot harder if KG wasn't going to play as many minutes," Bass said. "I definitely kept that in mind."

Bass will return home to Orlando for the All-Star Break. He will look to bring his momentum with him when he re-joins the team next week for their west coast road trip.

"I'm going in the right direction," he said. "That's been the plan for the last month, to continue to improve and be more consistent."

Report: Free agent Derrick Rose agrees to deal with Cavs

Report: Free agent Derrick Rose agrees to deal with Cavs

A person familiar with the decision says free agent Derrick Rose has agreed to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Rose, a former league MVP who has battled knee injuries, will get a one-year contract at the veteran's minimum of $2.1 million, said the person who spoke Monday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team has not announce the agreement.

Rose played for the New York Knicks last season and averaged 18 points and 4.4 assists. The 28-year-old's role with the Cavs is still to be determined. He could be used as a backup or start depending on what the team does with All-Star Kyrie Irving, who recently asked for a trade.

Rose drew interest from other teams. He met with Cleveland's front office on Monday, when the team promoted Koby Altman to be their full-time general manger after he served as the interim GM since mid-June.

---

More AP basketball:https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball