There is no doubt about it… Brandon Bass is struggling.
There's also no doubt about this… getting the Brandon Bass that played for the Celtics in the regular season would be a HUGE help for the Celtics.
I know it. You know it. The Celtics know it.
So when Brandon Bass hit 3 of his first 4 shots amidst a 13-5 start for the Celtics, it looked like he was finally going to break out of his slump and maybe help the C's storm out to a big lead. So Rajon Rondo kept looking for him. Often. But was it too often?
Bass shot 3 of 8 in the first quarter alone. He was also fouled that makes nine times Bass tried to score the ball. The Celtics took 20 shots (and no one else took a free throw). So Brandon finished about half the C's shot attempts. Paul Pierce, who struggled, got 2 shots in the first quarter. Kevin Garnett, who struggled, got 2 shots in the first quarter.
Rajon Rondo went out of his way to find Brandon Bass. Bass' first few shots came within the flow of the offense. Avery Bradley found him after a cut… a pick & roll with Rondo… a drive and dish. It worked. Then Rondo started to pull his "pass up open layups" routine. Like this one:
But I was fine with a couple of these because, like I said, you really want to get Bass going. In this situation, Bass is just outside the paint. Yes, Rondo could have taken the layup and probably gotten the 2… but all things considered, this wasn't a horrible play to make.
This was another shot Rondo could have taken:
Again, we've seen Rondo take and make shots like this, especially with the defender yet to challenge the shot. But look at how wide open Bass is. He missed this shot too.
Brandon Bass took a team-high 15 shots. He mixed them up from various distances pretty well. He missed 4 of the 6 long-2's he took, but he also missed all 3 of the shots from 3-9 feet. There were a few drives where he was stripped or blocked. He was probably fouled on at least a couple of those drives, but that's how the game was being called at that point. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett all gave it up to Bass on various shot attempts, and it didn't matter.
Did the Celtics force the issue and try too hard to feed Brandon Bass? Aside from a couple of Rondo passes early, the answer is no. Most of Bass' 15 shots came within the flow of the offense. He forced a few shots, which shows he's pressing and desperately trying to find his shot. If you eliminate some of the forced plays, I'd say he would have had 11 or 12 shot attempts. Yes, the C's tried to get him going early, and he took a lot more shots than usual, but they were mostly make-able shots that he… still… just missed.