Celtics

Bass: 'I knew where I wanted to be'

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Bass: 'I knew where I wanted to be'

WALTHAM When Brandon Bass decided to become a free agent this summer, there was a sense that the 6-foot-9 forward would have plenty of suitors.

To him, it didn't matter.

His first choice from the outset was to return to Boston, a goal that became a reality on Saturday when he signed a three-year deal that CSNNE.com reported last week would be worth 20 million.

"I had other offers out, but I knew where I wanted to be and that's back in a green jersey playing for the Celtics," Bass said. "It's a great organization, a great group of guys who are all about winning. I'm excited to be back."

And the C's are excited to have him back, especially when you consider how well he played last season.

His decision to re-sign with the Celtics came after the C's got a commitment from Kevin Garnett, whose three-year, 34 million contract also became official on Saturday.

Their returns meant that the C's would have the same starting five that they had at the end of this past season. While Garnett's return came as a surprise to few (it was either coming back to Boston, or retirement for Garnett), there was some uncertainty as to whether Boston would be able to re-sign Bass.

"Bringing Brandon back to the team was a top priority of ours after the season had ended," said Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations. "Brandon has improved as a player every year that he has been in the NBA and we believe that the best is yet to come from him."

Bass averaged a career-high 12.5 points per game last season, starting in 39 of his 59 appearances. While Bass is certainly coming off a strong season, he still feels there's room - lots of room - to improve.

"I think I still have a long ways to go," Bass said. "I'm ready to get back in the gym, and come back a little bit better a lot better."

Bass added, "I got big dreams. I'm 27 now. Some of my cousins say I'm getting old, but I think I'm still young and I still got big dreams of doing big things in the league. I want to make my imprint on the organization, on a team. I think this is the perfect team."

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

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