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Instead of Voicing Frustration, Brandon Bass Stays Humble, Does His Job


It had been a relatively rocky road for Brandon Bass this postseason prior to Game 5 last night. After getting neutralized by Josh Smith for the majority of the first round series against Atlanta, Doc Rivers had appeared to lose some faith in his starting power forward by opting to go small late in the first four games of the Philadelphia series.

How bad had it gotten for Bass? A guy who had averaged 33.8 minutes per game and 13 ppg in the regular season? Before Game 5, the former LSU star had played a grand total of 13 seconds of a fourth quarter against Philadelphia in Games 1-4 combined. It should also be noted those 14 seconds were at the end of game 4, when Philly had already secured the win. That’s four playoff games where a guy who had been a pretty integral part of the team’s regular season success didn’t even have a chance to see the floor in crunch time. For this entire series, Doc had been sending him out for a few minutes of the third quarter and that was that.

Now, I’m not attacking Doc for this. Besides the fourth quarter of Game 4, all of his decisions involving Bass were defensible. Still, it makes you wonder whether Bass had some frustration brewing heading into last night, a game where the team desparately needed his additional offensive punch and some improved defense to get over the top with Avery Bradley sidelined. After the game, Bass reflected on how he responded to the late-game benchings.

“With the leadership we have on this team,” Bass continued. “These guys encourage you to work hard, get your shots up, and watch more film and I took heed to it. I saw where I was open and I saw where I could be better on defense and it led to me being better tonight.”

And had there been any frustration building up over these past four games with the reduced court time? (just 24 minutes per game this series). The bait was laid out for Bass right there but he didn’t come close to biting.

“I wasn’t really frustrated,” Bass explained. “I trust Doc and his coaching ability. For me, I just stay ready and on a night like tonight, I was able to help.”

So simple, yet so refreshing to hear. And that’s the great thing about this team right now. You have a bunch of guys that know their roles, stay patient, don’t make excuses and don’t show frustration. Bass didn’t get down about his benching, he just took it as a cue to play harder and smarter.

The same goes for Greg Stiemsma last night. While he was spotty on the defensive end at times, the Steamer responded to a DNP-CD in Game 4 with 10 crucial points in Game 5 on 5-of-5 shooting, including eight big points in the first half which helped keep Boston in the game at the time.

Bass and Stiemsma are terrific representatives of the locker room makeover this team experienced in the offseason that is paying extreme dividends now. Instead of dealing with big egos and guys seeking attention, you have players committed to a team concept and also a couple bench guys whose voices are respected and heard in that locker room as Bass explained:

“At half, we were struggling defensively, Doc didn’t think we were playing for each other,” Bass said. “Then Reverend Dooling stepped up and gave us a little sermon and let us know we had to play for each other and in the second half we decided to do it.”

That’s a pretty tough locker room to be heard in, but Keyon is obviously a guy who has that cache. You can’t put a price on that on this kind of veteran team. A guy like Dooling getting through to the likes of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce as well as the younger guys in Bass and Rajon Rondo. That says a lot.

Brandon, like the rest of his teammates, is buying in though. He isn’t getting caught up in individual accolades either. After scoring a season-high 27 points and setting a postseason high for most points scored in a quarter in the NBA this season, Bass was given the opportunity to reflect on the accomplishment.

“I haven’t thought too much about. For me, it’s hard work. My motto is God, grind and greatness and grinding is what got me to this point and it’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

That grinding mantra has been the rallying cry of the Celtics, since they turned around their season at the All-Star Break. And now, thanks to Bass and company they have a chance to ride it into the Eastern Conference Finals.




  • Phil

    What were the chances coming into the year of Keyon Dooling becoming a clubhouse leader? I knew he was a well respected player from his other teams, but there's a difference between doing it in Milwaukee and doing it for a team with championship experience and aspirations. Definitely good to see him have a positive impact.

    As for Bass, everything's been said pretty much. He hadn't been playing well, but he didn't get down, and he was ready to step up when the team needed him. Hopefully he can slip back into his regular season level from here on out, because the Celtics do need him. They need everyone who can walk normally at this point with their health situation.

  • CG12

    Having guys like Bass, Dooling, and Stiemsma is one of the many reasons I love this year's team so much. Just an awesome group of guys who you know will put in the work and focus on the big picture, without compromising team chemistry. It beats dealing with some of the guys who the Cs have had on their bench in recent years. It is reminiscent of House, Powe, Posey, and Brown on the last championship team.

    • CelticsBIG3

      +10 on reminiscent of the 2008 bench. Guys who come in and do dirty work and have one goal; to win the NBA Championship as a team.

  • High Rollers

    So glad to hear Reverend Dooling performed the much needed exorcism on these guys’ heads at half-time. For some guys, it was the bogeyman of past events and present limitations. For others, it was about the spooks and shanks of inconsistent playing time and performance in their first playoffs with this demanding organization. But the unlikely spiritual guru came in flexin’ and having everyone’s ear declared… Now, be healed, play free.

    Then the smelling salt of a very bad call. The tsunami effect on the crowd. Philly falling apart after finding itself with a clear-path. Etc., etc. Voila! We found the pulse. Game within a game within a game.

  • ElRoz

    I would start Dooling if Bradley cannot go. Havign Dooling on the floor with Rondo, Pierce, KG, and Bass would be pretty good – he plays good D and he can hit a 3-point shot.

    When Doc brings him off the bench for short minutes, it is not as effective.

    No Bradley? Start Dooling.

  • lucidsportsfan

    Bass and Stiemsma were HUGE last night! http://www.lucidsportsfan.com/2012_05_20_archive…. on a night when the stars were mediocre those two kept them in the game

  • skeeds

    What I found extremely important in last night's win, was the way these guys kept us close through the first half. Why? Because I know that in any important playoff series, this need will come up at some point. By game 4 or 5, the opponent has picked up your stars tendencies. They know your go to plays. They adjust. At the same time, fatigue builds up.
    Basically, by game 5-6, if you're facing a good opponent, your best weapons could be neutralized neutralized. You need someone to step up. So your 5th option on offense showing that he's capable of this kind of explosion, is really a relief. Especially since no team still in the playoffs has the personnel to shut down KG and Bass at the same time. So he's gonna have the chance to do this again. No doubt.

  • felix

    I still get nervous everytime Bass dribbles the ball and drives to the basket. His spins are actually great but somehow he always fumbles away the ball or turns it over. Now if he just could finish! But his midrange jumper is great – hope they fall in game 6 as well….C's need some time off, so no game 7 please.

  • Jamie

    I wish he would be more aggressive about going up strong with the ball to the basket instead of always settling for that jumper.

    • CG12

      I'm not sure if this is sarcasm, or merely wrong. Bass had five dunks last night. That's a lot. And besides, Bass is a phenomenal mid-range jump shooter. He should take those shots every single time when they are open. Since he has been hitting, the D will need to respect it more, opening up opportunities for him to put it on the deck.

  • Tom

    the old celts are going to lose game 6 guaranteed and i hjave hwy right here and how to bet it so come down and enjoy! http://nbawagers.com/2012/05/the-most-unlikely-of

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