Celtics

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."

Celtics won't be broken by Hayward's injury

Celtics won't be broken by Hayward's injury

BOSTON -- These are tough, heart-tugging times for the Boston Celtics, who are less than 24 hours removed from the gruesome left-ankle injury suffered by Gordon Hayward in the first quarter of their 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday.
 
Hayward is scheduled to have surgery today, and potentially could be out for the entire season.
 
As much as their hearts go out to Hayward and his family, the Celtics know they can’t spend too much time sulking. The nature of this business won’t allow them, evident by the fact the C's step back on the floor tonight to host the Milwaukee Bucks.
 
“You hurt for him,” said coach Brad Stevens. “He’s put in a lot of great work. I thought he had his most comfortable week as far as feeling like he was going to play really well. It’s a tough, tough deal but I guess that’s part of it, the risk of injury. I really feel for him.”
 
But in the same breath, Stevens is a realist.
 
He's been in the league long enough to know that grieving for a lost player won’t help that player in the short-term. Or the team, for that matter.

MORE ON GORDON HAYWARD

 
The best way the Celtics can help Hayward is to continue to compete in his absence.
 
We saw that in last night’s loss to the Cavaliers.
 
When Hayward was carted off the floor, the Celtics were ahead, 12-9. The lead disappeared and was eventually replaced by an 18-point deficit, only for Boston to chip away and eventually go ahead in the fourth quarter.
 
But down the stretch, too much LeBron James and Kevin Love would prove to be too much for the Celtics to overcome.
 
While the loss was disappointing, it gave the team some insight into how to fight on now that one of its main guys will be out for a significant amount of time.
 
We saw Jaylen Brown emerge from being a second-year pro on the rise into a matchup problem who dropped a career-high 25 points on the Cavs.
 
And Jayson Tatum reminded us all that he’s a teenager in age only, finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. The last rookie to tally a double-double for the Celtics in his opening night debut was Larry Bird in 1979, who had an identical 14-point, 10-rebound line.


 
But Bird didn’t have to play most of that game with one of the then top-three Celtics out for all but the game’s first five minutes.
 
When it comes to adversity, NBA players don’t have the luxury to pick which ones to handle and which ones to pass on. They either step up to the challenge or be consumed by it.
 
Under Stevens, Door Number One is the only option under consideration.
 
And since Stevens has been in Boston, his players have risen to the challenge.
 
That doesn’t mean they'll win every game, but they've shown the ability to at least be competitive. And in defeat, they'll refuse to use injury as an excuse.
 
That means younger players like Brown and Tatum will assume a larger role at both ends of the floor if Boston is to make it through these tough times relatively unscathed.
 
Veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Smart will be leaned upon more heavily to be leaders, both on and off the floor.
 
And Stevens, considered by many to be one of the better coaches in the NBA, will once again be tasked with making on-the-fly adjustments with his lineup and rotations under less-than-ideal conditions.
 
Nobody hurts more than Stevens when it comes to Hayward’s injury. Remember, he's known him longer than anyone associated with the Celtics, having recruited Hayward to play for Butler. It was the platform that launched both of their NBA careers.
 
Which is why the way he approaches not having Hayward is the example for all his players to follow.
 
Shortly after the loss to the Cavs, Stevens was asked about moving on while handling the emotional dynamics of losing Hayward for an extended period of time.
 
“We’ll be ready to play [tonight],” Stevens said with a heightened level of seriousness in his voice that spoke to how important it was to him and his players that they came out and performed at their best on Tuesday against Cleveland.

And that's the blueprint required for them going forward if they hope to be successful in handling adversity as it comes their way.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.