BOSTON -- When Celtics coach Doc Rivers announced before Wednesday's 71-69 win over the Chicago Bulls that Kevin Garnett would see limited minutes, Brandon Bass realized more would be needed from him to help fend off Chicago's sizable front line.
True to his word, Rivers limited Garnett to just more than 26 minutes, and Bass responded to Boston's need for frontcourt stability by scoring 14 points, bringing down nine rebounds and dishing out two assists -- all in a season-high 40 minutes.
"Tremendous," Celtics guard Jason Terry said of Bass' night. "Before the game, KG didn't know if he was going to be able to go or not, but he toughed it out, and Brandon saw that and he held it down. That's what we call having each other's back. There was no bigger evidence of having everybody's back than what Brandon Bass did tonight with his performance."
Bass didn't wait for the likes of Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson to dictate things in the paint, as he ripped down six of his nine rebounds in the opening quarter and matched that output with six points. It was easily Bass' most active stretch in weeks, as he has battled through periods of inconsistency and ineffectiveness. Knowing he would be in for a battle underneath against Chicago's bigs, Bass had a greater sense of urgency.
"I try to take the same approach every night, but those guys are solid bigs, so you've definitely got to bring your A-game," Bass said. "I just kind of put it in my head that I would have to play a lot harder if KG wasn't going to play as many minutes, so I definitely kept that in mind."
Some of Bass' other efforts in Wednesday's win weren't quite so planned out, although they still yielded positive results. Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, Bass intercepted a pass from Marco Belinelli intended for Noah. Even though he had Terry and Avery Bradley running with him in a three-on-one advantage on the break, Bass elected to bring the ball up himself and attack the lane.
It's not uncommon for big men trying to play point guard to have disastrous results, but Bass was able to improvise as he motored up the court, ending things with a slick spin move past Marquis Teague and a two-handed slam.
"You know what, before I do my [pregame] routine, I always do a little ballhandling, just in case I might need to do something," Bass said, trying to downplay his breakaway move. "So, I got it."
When he was reminded that big men who try to bring the ball up don't always fare real well, Bass said: "I was just glad mine went well tonight. I'll tell you that."
But as uncharacteristic as Bass' one-man fast break was, even more eye-opening was his involvement in Boston's second-to-last possession, which resulted in a Garnett jumper and a decisive three-point advantage. After helping Garnett out on the minutes front for much of the game, Bass aided him with -- of all things -- a crisp pass that gave Garnett a wide-open look along the left baseline, which he knocked down with 19 seconds left to beat the shot clock and help seal the win.
Last season, Bass earned himself the nickname "No Pass Bass" for his lack of assists -- something his teammates had a bit of fun with after he fed Garnett.
"That last shot KG got, five guys touched it. Brandon Bass -- who thought he would get the assist of all people to KG for the closing basket?" Terry quipped.
But afterward, Bass was ready for a new calling card.
"I think it's OK for y'all to call me something else other than No Pass Bass," he said, laughing.
A more appropriate nickname might be bestowed upon Bass in the future, but for now he'll have to be satisfied with being the guy who stood out Wednesday when the Celtics needed steadier support behind a limited Garnett.