Bass Sets Physical Tone vs. Sixers

Bass Sets Physical Tone vs. Sixers

PHILADELPHIA - Brandon Bass made headlines during the offseason for learning to swim, but on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, he taught his teammates how to drive.

Bass finished with a season-high 23 points in 32 minutes as the Celtics knocked off the Sixers 101-90 at the Wells Fargo Center. The win improved the Celtics to 4-6, while the Sixers dropped their 11th straight game to remain winless.

“I thought Brandon was our most physical interior player in the first half. I thought everybody else in the second half matched that,” Brad Stevens said after the win. “That was the biggest part of the game. Bass kind of led the charge tonight.”

Bass changed the tenor of the game for the Celtics, who fell behind by eight points in the first quarter while hoisting mostly jumpers. Then Bass started swimming upstream, so to speak - and into the paint. His work inside appeared to be contagious, as the C’s stopped settling for jumpers and started looking for elbow room under the rack.

Before Wednesday's game in Philadelphia, Stevens said he was looking for consistency from his bench. He found it when he inserted Bass into the game. Bass checked in for Kelly Olynyk with 3:13 to play in the first, and wasted no time in attacking the paint.

“I thought I came out tonight and played hard, played with energy. It’s always good to get a few layups, a dunk to get you going,” said Bass of his 9-for-13 performance. As for bring toughness on the interior, he noted, “That’s been me from the beginning. A bruiser, a guy who brings toughness and energy.”

Bass clearly made his presence felt, scoring inside and providing grit and dirty work that was missing from Boston's game in the opening minutes. Stevens has come to expect that from his muscular power forward with the soft touch on his mid-range jumper.

“He’s a unique player in that he’s a big strong guy who can guard perimeter (players) as well. He can post and score in the post. He always has that reliable 16-footer. I trust him to do a lot of things, but physicality certainly has to be one of them.”

Stevens has insisted that he isn't concerned about the Celtics’ offense, but their defense. His players must have heard him, because they cranked up the defensive intensity after the first quarter. The game was tied 46-46 at the half but Rajon Rondo handed out six of his 13 assists in the third quarter - two of which set up a pair of dunks for Bass.

The Celtics maintained control and eventually finished off the Sixers with some more inside play from Jared Sullinger. That inside play powered Boston’s second half attack, as Sullinger’s 22-point, nine-rebound effort helped seal the game. Afterward, Sullinger credited Bass for establishing the tone in the first half.

“He came in, picked up the energy and played well. The guy came in and did one hell of a job,” Sulllinger said. “We love B. He plays hard. His demeanor doesn’t change throughout the game. Whether he plays five minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, he’s always going to give it his best.”

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