Collins suddenly at the center of things

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Collins suddenly at the center of things

MILWAUKEE The spotlight for a reliable backup for Kevin Garnett has now landed on Jason Collins.
Once considered an end-of-the-bench addition to the roster, Collins has been the first big man off the bench for the C's the last few games to sub in for Garnett.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made it clear following Boston's 91-88 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday night that the decision to go with Collins ahead of Wilcox was not in connection with Wilcox's health.
Wilcox was unable to finish out Boston's loss to Brooklyn last week, in addition to missing a practice and the team's morning shootaround prior to defeating Portland on Friday, due to an illness.
"Jason gives us size and he's playing well," Rivers said.
It has been well documented how the Celtics struggle whenever Garnett leaves the floor.
After opening Saturday's game with a flurry of baskets and defensive stops, the C's had a 17-2 advantage when Collins entered the game for Garnett.
For a change, Boston actually increased its lead by a single point as Garnett spent the remainder of the first quarter on the bench while Collins helped the C's end the first with a 27-11 lead.
He finished Saturday's game with season highs in minutes played (14) and rebounds (5). It was the third straight game in which Collins played 10 or more minutes.
Meanwhile Wilcox had one rebound and one blocked shot while playing less than three minutes. It was the fewest minutes he has played since he logged three minutes against the Bucks on Nov. 2.
The use of Collins does not mean Wilcox won't have a role, although it's clear that Wilcox's minutes will be trimmed.
"He helps out," Rivers said of Collins. "Chris does his things, too. I got a feeling it will be back and fourth all year."
Whether he's playing as Garnett's primary backup or just another big man in the mix, Wilcox said he has no problem playing whatever role Doc Rivers asks of him.
"I just want to help this team win, man," Wilcox told CSNNE.com. "That's what everybody here wants to do; is win. When you have a team full of guys that are all about winning, you don't think a lot about role and things like that. Because end of the day, that doesn't matter. Competing, winning games; that's what you want."

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.