Collins mans paint with KG in first start for Celtics

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Collins mans paint with KG in first start for Celtics

BOSTON Jason Collins has known Kevin Garnett since the two were highly regarded high school ballers.

Over the years, the two developed a mutual respect for one another in part because as different as they may seem, they each care deeply for the same thing when it comes to basketball - playing great defense.

And with Collins now in the starting lineup, Garnett has a big man in the first unit with a similar defense-first mindset that he hasn't been paired with since Kendrick Perkins was traded to Oklahoma City in 2010.

There have been glimpses of the Garnett and Collins on the floor together during practices as well as during the preseason games.

But it wasn't until Wednesday's 103-91 win over Cleveland did the defensive duo actually start in the same game.

Although the decision didn't become official until about an hour before tip-off, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he had been giving it serious thought for a while.

The decision didn't catch Collins off guard.

"I could feel a change was coming," Collins said. "So you know with that you've just got to be ready for anything. But I didn't get the confirmation until about 50 (minutes) before (tip-off)."

Although Wednesday was their first game starting together, you would have thought the two of them have been on the same team for years.

"He's not going to make too many mistakes," Garnett said of Collins. "He knows his role."

And having competed against Garnett for the better part of this past decade, Collins understands how big a plus it is for him at this point in his career to play with a future Hall of Famer like Garnett.

"It's better being on his team than against him," said Collins. "Obviously he's a great defender, he talks out there which is so important. I pride myself on being a defender first, and you know we are both 7-footers, so we have the height, we have the length. We're just trying to clog up the paint and make the other team shoot jump shots."

McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

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McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.

The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.

“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”

McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”

That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.