BOSTON -- Celtics forward Brandon Bass said after Tuesday's 97-92 victory over the Houston Rockets that he expects to play in Wednesday's tilt against the Philadelphia 76ers after he rolled his right ankle early in the first quarter. Bass headed to the locker room with team trainer Ed Lacerte at the 8:18 mark of the first quarter to get re-taped, but didn't re-emerge until the 9:00 mark of the second frame -- a span that lasted approximately 27 minutes in real time and prompted everyone to wonder if something more serious had occurred, including coach Doc Rivers.
"Honestly, [Bass] told me the tape was too tight. But there's no way that was what it was, because that's the longest tape job of all time," Rivers said afterward. "I was actually getting really upset, because I was under the understanding that he was just going back [to get re-taped], and after like 15 minutes, I'm thinking, 'Oh my goodness, what kind of tape job is this?' So, it probably was the ankle. I didn't ask. Eddie just came out and said he could go back in. But I'm sure it had to be something else."
Bass did acknowledge briefly after the game that it's not specifically an ankle issue, but didn't elaborate on what the ailment is, only saying that he initially suffered the injury during Sunday's 115-111 overtime victory over the New York Knicks.
Too Many Minutes?
Kevin Garnett played 38 minutes during Tuesday's win, just two days after playing a season-high 41 against the New York Knicks on Sunday. Rivers prefers to keep Garnett right around the 30-minute mark, if not a few under, but maintained that a few higher-minute games from time to time shouldn't hurt his long-term production.
"I'm not worried about his minutes," Rivers said. "He's going to have some days where he plays 40 minutes. I don't like them back to back. But he's also going to have some 25-minute games. So, at the end of the season, it'll still say 30. How we get to it is how we get to it. Obviously if I had my pick, today would not have been a 40-minute night. What hurt us was Brandon gets hurt at the beginning of the game, so we're searching. Chris [Wilcox] gets into foul trouble, so now we have to extend Kevin's minutes."
Triple-Doubles Trump 50-Point Nights
Prior to Tuesday's win over the Rockets, Rajon Rondo's historic 18-point, 17-rebound, 20-assist triple double in Boston's 115-111 overtime victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday was still all the rage. That same day, though, New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams came through with a breakthrough performance of his own by posting a career-high 57 points in a 104-101 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Williams later told a local New York radio station that Rondo's stat line was more impressive than his own, and Rivers ultimately backed that perspective.
"Well, I think they're both pretty good, I'll put it that way," Rivers said. "It's funny, Deron's, you're sitting at home, you get to see a little bit of it and you're sitting on the couch, you're more relaxed, and you're like, 'Wow.' When you're the coach, when it's going on, you don't appreciate it as much until you look at the box score, and then you say, 'Wow, that was amazing.'
"Obviously a triple-double trumps any -- if there's a poker hand, I think the triple-double trumps the 50, right? That's the way I would look at it. I think a triple-double trumps about anything, because that means, basically, you've covered all the bases in a game. I'd like to see [Rondo] average that the rest of the year. That'd be terrific."
While speaking with reporters prior to Tuesday's game, Rockets head coach and Celtics legend Kevin McHale was asked about the differences between point guards playing today and those who played in the 1980s and suggested those playing in today's NBA might have struggled in the past due to the bigger guards who were playing and the hand checks that were allowed.
"The biggest difference is you didn't have guys like M.L. Carr that could hand-check back then. If you look at the size of the guys who played back then, they were just so much bigger. Tiny [Archibald] was unique back then because he was so quick and could squirm and move and guys couldn't get a hand on him. With hand checking, once that game got slowed down, once you weren't running, the hand check lent itself to -- this is no knock on anybody, but a lot of these smaller guards would not be doing what they're doing with dudes like Duck Chaney and guys just grabbing them, saying, 'Here, come here. Walk around here.' You just couldn't go anywhere."
When asked if Rondo would have struggled in previous decades due to a difference in certain rules, Rivers said he doesn't think so.
"I don't know, I think [he would have been successful]," Rivers said. "I do think the rules have changed, obviously, the hand check, for the small guard. I'm sure that's what Kevin was talking about. It's changed the game. It helped me, because I can keep that small guard in front of me with my hands, and now you can't. It has absolutely changed the game, and I must say for the better. I don't like the calls, I wish they would let us play more, but I do like that there's more free movement allowed in our game. I think it's good for the game."