WALTHAM, Mass. — This just in: Brandon Bass is a human being.
Bass’ name came up in at least two substantial trade rumors prior to the Feb. 20 trade deadline. At one point, it seemed he was halfway out the door to Houston. In the end, the deadline passed without a move, assuring Bass will finish his ninth NBA season as a member of the Boston Celtics.
Bass wouldn’t admit all the trade talk negatively affected his play, but he didn’t pretend he was made of stone, either.
“As a human, all types of human nature-type things come into your head,” Bass said at practice Tuesday. “But at the end of the day, it’s a business. You know anything can happen. All you can do is control what you can control, and that’s trying to get better each and every day.”
Although Bass let the trade talk slide off him outwardly, it seemed to have an effect on him subconsciously. Since the deadline, Bass has looked more confident and comfortable on the court — and it’s been reflected in his numbers.
Before Feb. 20, Bass averaged 11.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 free throw attempts per game. In five games since, he’s averaged 14.0 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.2 free throws per game. If that doesn’t seem like a huge swing, keep in mind that Bass typically isn’t subject to huge swings. Even a modest increase is notable for the steady, reliable power forward who, along with Jeff Green, is one of two Celtics players to appear in every game this season.
“It’s not flair,” Jared Sullinger said. “He’s not going to ‘wow’ you with crazy numbers. He’s just going to stay that even road and he’s going to play hard defensively. It’s just who he is.”
The Celtics (20-40) get another crack at the Golden State Warriors (36-24) on Wednesday, and although they’ll have Rajon Rondo this time — he was still a week away from returning from a torn ACL when the Celtics visited in January — they’re not exactly pumped about taking on Stephen Curry again.
Curry, fresh off his first All-Star game appearance, is once again shooting the lights out for the Dubs. His percentages have dipped, but he is scoring a career-high 24.1 points per game and his assist percentage has shot up to 40.9 percent. In most experts’ minds, he’s surpassed Rondo on the list of the league’s top point guards.
“When we played them last game, we were better off not guarding him, because it seemed like every open shot he missed and every contested shot he made,” Sullinger said. “It was kind of crazy. He’s one of those guys where he likes contested shots. He can shoot it from anywhere.”
Sullinger was quick to warn reporters that leaving Curry open wasn’t the Celtics’ gameplan, just his observation. Still, intentionally leaving Curry open and seeing what happens might not be a bad idea. No strategy thus far has really been effective in slowing him, and what’s the use of being at the bottom of the standings if you can’t experiment a little? A counter-intuitive approach might be worth a shot.
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