NEW YORK — As Brandon Bass packed up the last of his things before the team headed to Miami, he will look back at his Boston Celtic debut as a bittersweet experience.
He had 20 points and 11 rebounds Sunday, the kind of performance that would be music to the ears of any coach.
But it came in a 106-104 loss to New York, a game that was up for grabs until the final horn sounded right after Kevin Garnett missed a relatively wide open jumper.
"I mean . . . I just wanted to come out and contribute in any way I can," said Bass, visibly disappointed with the game's outcome. "I just wish we could have won tonight; I just wish we could have won."
Bass is new to the Celtics, so he hasn't been around this group long enough to know that, win or lose, this team is all about the next game, the next opportunity to be great.
And when they see how Bass performed in his first game, still learning the C's system, you can understand why coach Doc Rivers is excited about what awaits the C's this year with Bass as a main cog off the bench.
"He can play; the kid can play," Rivers said. "He's tough. He can finish. He can offensive rebound. He can do a lot of things."
Making what he did on Sunday even more impressive was that despite the numbers, Bass still has a ways to go before he understands fully how to play within Rivers' system.
"He's doing it right now, second-guessing half the things he's doing because of the execution part of it," Rivers said. "He's late on a lot of stuff because he's just not sure yet. He's just going to keep getting better and better as the year goes on."