Garnett teaching Hollins both on and off the court


Garnett teaching Hollins both on and off the court

NEW YORK Somewhere in New York City last night, Kevin Garnett had to be smiling as the Boston Celtics defeated Charlotte, 94-82.

It wasn't just because the Celtics defeated the Bobcats without him or his Big Three cohorts, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen who were all given the night off following the team's win at New Jersey on Saturday (Allen did not play against the Nets and is not traveling with the team because of an ankle injury).

Garnett had to be thrilled to know that his latest pupil, Ryan Hollins, made the most of his opportunity to play meaningful minutes - a first for him since joining the C's last month.

Hollins, who was waived by Cleveland last month and soon signed by the Celtics, had two points and four rebounds off the C's bench in about 20 minutes of court time.

The rebounds and minutes played were both season-highs for him with the C's.

Hollins made it clear that despite the Celtics and Bobcats being at such opposite ends of the NBA spectrum, beating them had great value for the Celtics - and for himself.

"This was about guys getting out there such as myself getting some minutes. I really needed it," he "Doc (Rivers) said before the game, this isn't about our offense, it's our defense."

And while Hollins didn't record any of the 10 blocked shots registered by the Celtics, there was no mistaking his presence on the floor. Hollins has stuck around in the NBA because of his ability to run the floor, show on pick-and-rolls and tilt occasionally towards an opponent to help out a teammate defensively.

His value throughout his career has seldom shown up in tangible statistics. However, the Celtics were plus-6 when he was in the game against the Bobcats, which was the best plusminus ratio of any Celtic reserve.

And it is that willingness to do the little things needed to win, that's in part why Garnett has gravitated toward Hollins who is now in his sixth season with his fifth NBA team. Bouncing around so much can shake the confidence of any player.

But Hollins maintains that for him, it all comes down to finding the right fit - something he believes he now has with the Celtics.

And of course, helping the process tremendously, he said, has been the time Garnett has spent with him both on the floor and off it.

The two spent this past summer playing together in California during the NBA lockout, with Garnett and C's Captain Paul Pierce both encouraging the Celtics to sign him during the shortened offseason.

Instead Hollins wound up with the Cavaliers who waived him on March 20. Shortly after he cleared waivers, the Celtics waived Chris Wilcox, who is out for the rest of the season following heart surgery, in order to add Hollins to the roster.

The biggest challenge Hollins has had in the NBA, is rebounding and positioning around the basket.

He acknowledges Garnett's work both in telling him and leading by example, have helped.

And now, it's to the point where he doesn't have to necessarily have Garnett around to hear him.

"It's huge," Hollins said of having Garnett's support. "You got somebody like that in your corner, It's him, in the back of your mind, whether he's saying something or not. His attention to detail, preparation for the game, the teammate that he is, it rubs off on you and really helps."

And while Hollins had one of his best games as a Celtic on Sunday, his thoughts immediately afterward centered around not what he did, but he could have done a better job of - something he sees all the time in his mentor, Garnett.

"I just have to keep getting better, at everything," Hollins said. "That's what I'm really focusing on; just trying to be a better player at every part of my game."

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics go on second-quarter run

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics go on second-quarter run

BOSTON – The Celtics used a blistering run in the second quarter to propel them to a 50-42 lead over the Toronto Raptors after two quarters of play. 

It was the second straight game the Celtics had to play without their leading scorer Isaiah Thomas who remains out indefinitely with a right groin injury. 

As was the case in Boston’s 30-point win at Orlando, Avery Bradley took it upon himself to pick up some of the scoring slack as he leads the Celtics with 13 points at the half. 

Boston also got strong play in the first half from Al Horford who set the tone with a pair of 3’s in the first few minutes of the game. He would score eight first-half points to go with three rebounds. 

And then there was the Celtics bench seemingly picking up where they left off in Orlando.

Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier were once again making their impact early and often as they scored seven and four points, respectively. 

The game was relatively close until Boston, leading 32-31, went on a 14-0 run.

But the Raptors, once again among the top teams in the East, were able to outscore Boston 11-5 the rest of the second quarter which cut Boston’s led at the half down to eight points.

Here’s a look at the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from tonight’s game. 



Avery Bradley

Showing some serious two-way game tonight, Bradley was scoring the ball well in addition to doing a better-than-average job defensively on DeMar DeRozan. At the half, Bradley had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting with three rebounds and two assists.

Kyle Lowry

He’s an All-Star but this kid doesn’t get enough credit for his talent. The Celtics had problems with him for large chunks of the first half as he led all Toronto scorers with 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting.



Jaylen Brown

Very active at both ends of the floor, making the most of his chance to see extended minutes. At the half he had seven points along with two rebounds.

Kelly Olynyk

This was one of the more active games we’ve seen Olynyk play in, especially when it came to rebounding. At the half he had five points and seven rebounds. 

Norman Powell

He helped Toronto get off to a solid start, and finished the half with seven points. 



DeMar DeRozan

He had eight points at the half, but the Celtics made him work a lot harder for it than he’s used to as DeRozan shot just 4-for-12 from the field.

Thomas (groin) 'pretty ambitious' about return, remains day-to-day

Thomas (groin) 'pretty ambitious' about return, remains day-to-day

BOSTON – Isaiah Thomas, out for the second straight game with a right groin injury, is hoping to be back in the lineup by Wednesday’s game at San Antonio. 

But the Celtics may find themselves having to save the 5-foot-9 from himself on this one. 

“When I talked to Ed (Lacerte, the team’s head trainer) over the last 24-48 hours they said it’s usually 10 days to two weeks for an injury like this,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters.

“But again we're talking about Isaiah being pretty ambitious in his return,” Stevens said. “He's been getting treatment around the clock so we'll see. He'll be officially listed as day-to-day.”

When asked about how he was feeling prior to the game, Thomas said, “I’m not that good because I can’t play (tonight). It’s getting better. It hasn’t gotten worse and I’m just working as hard as I can to get back on the court.”

At a Christmas event earlier this week, Thomas said he was planning to travel with the Celtics when they play at Oklahoma City on Sunday and at San Antonio on Wednesday. 

But he didn’t sound as optimistic when asked about it on Friday. 

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll probably know tonight.”

If the Celtics have ruled him out for Sunday’s game against the Thunder, it would make more sense for him to stay in Boston and continue to rehab his groin. And if he’s feeling better to the point where he becomes a game-time decision, he could meet the team in San Antonio. 

“I’m going to take it day-by-day,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, I can play in the next few games and we'll see what happens. Today I feel a lot better than I have since I (suffered) the injury so we'll see maybe in next couple of days. I'm shooting for Wednesday."

As much as Thomas wants to be back on the floor quickly, he understands that he must listen to his body as well as the Celtics’ medical folks who have consistently brought back players only after they pass a series of rigorous physical tests that leave little doubt about a player’s readiness to return to action. 

“Our medical staff is great and he trusts them,” Stevens said. “But also, nobody knows his body better than him. They feel like he's not looking (to be sidelined) long-term. It's not going to be a long-term thing for sure. We got to make sure not to bring him back tonight or too soon.”

Thomas is averaging a career-high 26.0 points per game in addition to being Boston’s leaders in assists with 6.2 per game.