AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Brandon Bass spends time around the rim at both ends of the floor.Prior to the season, Celtics forward Brandon Bass vowed, perhaps more than anything, to be a better rebounder. While acknowledging the various improvements he wanted to make to his game, as well as the offseason work he utilized to make those changes, hauling in missed shots -- both by opponents and his own team -- was at the top of Bass' priority list.
Though Bass' role and minutes have fluctuated at times this season, he proved in Boston's 116-110 overtime win over the Magic Sunday night that he can follow through on his promise of being better on the boards, even in clutch situations with the game on the line.
Bass posted 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting Sunday night, but more importantly, he ripped down a season-high 12 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass.
More impressive was the timing of Bass' offensive rebounds. All five came in the fourth quarter and overtime, as the Celtics were trying to bounce back after surrendering a 12-point lead. Unable to shake the Magic, Bass helped to secure extra possessions as Boston fought to regain control and sneak out with a win.
Bass pulled down his first offensive board off of his own miss with just over five minutes remaining in regulation, and fed Jason Terry for a jumper, bringing the Celtics within four. He followed that up minutes later, grabbing a Garnett miss and exploding back up to draw a foul. He made one of two free throws, cutting Boston's deficit down to a single point. Later, in the closing minute of regulation, Bass came up with two more, and though his follow-up attempts went begging, he kept Orlando from the ball, and eventually helped give the C's a chance to win the game at the buzzer (Paul Pierce's jump shot didn't fall).
His most important sequence came midway through overtime. After Terry missed a jumper, Rajon Rondo flew in to keep the ball alive, and Bass eventually brought it down, only to spring back up and slam the ball home, tying the game at 106. The Celtics would close the game on a 10-4 run from there.
Sunday marked a bit of a homecoming for Bass. Not only did he play for the Magic for two seasons prior to being traded to Boston, he still resides there over the summer months. And though many of the key faces associated with the Magic during his time there are no longer with the franchise, it's not unusual for players to want to perform well against former clubs, as well as the player they were traded for.
More importantly, his final rebounding numbers fell in line with the production he's come through with this season. Though his basic rebounding figure might be down from 6.2 per game to 5.7 so far this season (it's still early and we're still dealing with a relatively small sample size), other numbers indicate better returns for Bass. He's seen a respectable jump in the percentage of offensive rebounds he's grabbing this season, up to 8.8 this season from 6.3 last season. Additionally, the total percentage of rebounds he's securing this season is up from 11.5 last season to 12.4 this season.
Bass' 5-of-14 shooting figure from Sunday certainly wasn't ideal, but the fact that Bass was able to still distinguish himself through his rebounding alone bodes well for Boston moving forward. Not only can Boston use all of the reliable rebounding presences it can get, but it's a sure sign of Bass fulfilling the role assigned to him, in a manner consistent with the Celtics winning games.