Bass hopes that opportunities arise without Rondo
WALTHAM — Brandon Bass was working on his post moves with Celtics GM Danny Ainge about 20 minutes before practice was to begin on Thursday.
Bass is coming off one of his best games in recent memory: 12 points (4-7 from the field), four rebounds, two assists, and three steals in the Celtics' 99-81 win over the Kings.
Is it a coincidence that it came in a game that didn't involve Jared Sullinger and Rajon Rondo? That depends on who you ask.
"I just think Brandon played well last night," Doc Rivers said. "I don't think we need to give it much thought. He made the same shots he was missing three games ago. I just think what Brandon is doing now, he's not thinking about missing shots or that he's not playing well or not getting the same touches or whatever that stupid crap is. He just made shots, and I think that's basketball. It's that simple."
Bass didn't have to think about "not getting the same touches or whatever that stupid crap is" because, well, he was getting touches. According to him, there were times this year where the ball wasn't coming his way.
"Yeah, man. There were times [I wasn't getting the ball]," Bass said. "You watched the games. There were times where I didn't get it. But I didn't want to let that dictate my game."
Except it has. According to 82games.com, while 76-percent of Bass's total field goal attempts are jump shots - the same percentage as last season - his percentage of made jump shots has gone from 46.3 percent last season down to 41.0 percent this season.
What's the reasoning? Is it not being an option on offense? Spacing? Is it just in his head? Whatever it is, Bass hasn't been happy with the way he's played, nor should he be. He's last in the team's plus/minus department (the numbers don't look up to date, but he's still last regardless).
He admits that it's been tougher to find a rhythm this year.
"Little bit, but, it happens," he said. "Things change. Bringing new guys in. Doc thinks certain things work better for us. So, just things happen."
Bass feels that the ball won't stick to any one player (*cough* Rondo! *cough*) anymore, which will help.
"But now, I just think that being that everybody is moving the ball, everybody will get an opportunity to be in rhythm," he said
It was fairly easy to see that Bass didn't seem heartbroken over the loss of Rondo. Coming on the heels of Jason Terry's comments after Wednesday's game, as told to the Boston Herald
- "The way we’re playing now is a little more conducive to my game, (but) I’m playing just the same as I did with Rondo. There’s no difference for me.” - Bass was asked point blank if this was a happier time for the Celtics where everybody touches the ball.
"I mean, of course you feel better by the ball touching your hands and going through your hands, whatever. But, yeah, it feels good," Bass said, before the big… "But at the same time we still miss Rondo."
Those are two big buts - and I cannot lie. Clearly, neither could Terry or Bass.
"I just think instead of one person getting 14, 15 assists, everybody gets like two, three," Bass said.
He continued: "I just think that everybody is just moving the ball. I just think everybody is going to get more looks or everybody is going to get an opportunity to make a play for somebody else."
It sure sounds a little bit more than just "shots falling for Bass" as Rivers indicated. Based on the comments, Bass wasn't happy at all with the way Rondo dominated the ball. And based on the "conducive" comment by Terry, it wasn't working well for him either.
At the end of the day, every player wants to be able to prove he can help by doing what he does best. Perhaps Rivers didn't know it, but by showcasing Rondo in the manner he was, he wasn't getting the most out of his other guys - at least, that's how they seem to feel about it. Now, Rivers has no choice.
"I think everybody is important," Rivers said when asked how important Bass is to this team. "I think Bass when he makes shots it opens it up a little bit more. I think when Jared rebounds. When a key guy in your rotation is playing well it helps your team. When a key guy in your rotation is not playing well, you need him to play well. And I don't think it's any deeper than that."
Or is it?