Good news if you prefer Mr. Buckets to “is Doc Rivers really reduced to playing Mickael Pietrus at power forward right now?!?!?” – Brandon Bass is set to return Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Though Jermaine O’Neal returned to Boston for additional testing on his wrist, Bass’ return should give the Celtics a much-needed boost in the scoring department. The Celtics lost five of the six games Bass missed prior to the All-Star break and scored fewer than 90 points in four of those outings. Other injuries and suspensions played a part (almost every Celtics front court player was injured during parts of that skid, and Rajon Rondo also missed two games after deciding he would go bowling for referees), but Bass’ absence hurt. For a second unit that, quite simply, finds buckets as easily as one might find an ocean in the desert, Bass’ “me score baskets” mentality is crucial. On top of that, he almost always plays crunch time minutes when healthy, so the Celtics were missing their closing five as long as Bass sat out.
Full strength? Not yet, and maybe not ever. But I like the Celtics with Bass a lot more than I like them without him.