Newcomers get first taste of TD Garden
December, 15, 2011
By Tom Lakin | ESPNBoston.com
Chris Forsberg/ESPN BostonThe Celtics players Thursday at the TD Garden before practice.BOSTON -- Thursday marked the first time the 2011-12 Celtics have practiced on their home parquet, having spent the last week working out at their training facility in Waltham, and Boston newcomer Brandon Bass was a little out of sorts at the TD Garden.
“I didn’t really know where to go,” Bass admitted. “But walking in the locker room and seeing the pictures on the wall of the legends that played in here, it’s a great feeling.”
With two rookies and a handful of new roster additions, the Celtics elected to practice at the TD Garden in order to get used to their home court.
"We need to be in this building more," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Opening night is, what, five days after the season opens? That’s unusual. We have a lot of new guys that haven’t been in this building, on our side at least. So I just thought it’s a way of getting three [practices] in a row... Just so when they come back on Dec. 30 [for the home opener against the Pistons], it won’t be an away gym to them.”
Rivers has expressed a desire to practice more in Boston, but admitted it simply hasn't worked out.
"The Bruins were good to give us this, it was in-between games and usually the days they have to give us, we’re traveling or something like that," said Rivers. "Last year, the goal was to practice here, and we didn’t do it once."
As for Bass, a native of Baton Rouge, La., he admitted he hasn't even had a chance to explore the city yet.
“All I’ve done is practice and then go back to the hotel,” Bass said. “I haven’t even seen Boston yet. So no, not yet. But we’ll soon be doing a bunch of things. [For now], everybody has just [been going] back to their places and getting rest.
“For a little bit, just walking into a new environment I felt a little uncomfortable. But the guys quickly made me feel at home. Kevin welcomed me, Paul, Ray, all the guys. They made me feel comfortable quick.”
The familiarity will come. Though undersized at 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds, Bass is expected to contribute significantly off the bench this season for the Celtics, spelling Garnett early on and providing a similar role to that of his departed LSU teammate and trade twin Glen Davis -- just with potentially better offense.
“I like him as a scorer, No. 1, before anything else,” Rivers said of Bass, who averaged 11.2 points in 76 games last season with the Magic. “I just thought he was one of those guys there that could score, great pick-and-pop player and not bad in [isolation] situations away from the basket. So we need that coming off the bench.”
Bass envisions his role as that of a guy who can play either the 4 or 5, depending on the situation and his team’s health-related needs.
“That’s the role I’ve played my whole career,” Bass said. “In Dallas, I played 4 and 5, so I’m comfortable playing both roles.
“It’s a great feeling for me, just even to be a part of this group and knowing that I have an important role," he said. "It’s something that I’m looking forward to.”
As for team chemistry and comfort, Bass said he’s certain it will come with time.
“Chemistry is gonna take some time, especially with the short training camp,” he said. “But we’ll get together pretty soon.
“I think [the team] is gonna get together maybe tonight or tomorrow -- we’re going to watch a movie or something like that. Doc’s got it planned for us.”
Celtics fans, grab your popcorn -- we’re 10 days away from the season's tip-off.