Hollins' athletic past helps his basketball game

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Hollins' athletic past helps his basketball game

BOSTON -- In just his second game at the TD Garden, newly acquired center Ryan Hollins wowed the home crowd with two alley oop dunks from Rajon Rondo that sent him flying above the rim.

The elevations are part of Hollins athleticism. The 7-foot, 230-pound big man is the son of a former track star. Hollins grew up attending track meets and joined the team at John Muir High School in Pasadena, Calif. during his senior year.

I did the triple jump and long jump, he said. Basketball season was over, theres nothing more you can do, and I ended up getting third in the state in triple jump. I was like, wow, I might be pretty good at this.

Hollins attended UCLA as a member of the mens basketball team and competed on the track team as well his freshman year.

I had so much fun doing it, he recalled. It was funny, a couple of people were like, Hes a track guy playing basketball. No, I was a basketball player who just went out (for track). Its just genetics.

Now in his sixth NBA season, Hollins has used his track skills on the court.

When I came back to basketball from that, it just helped out my jumping tremendously, he explained. For a big guy, it helped my coordination because triple jump and long jump, those are little guy-type things or there is coordination to run in those kinds of steps, things like that. As far as jumping, it really does help my vertical. How to run, how to move, thats important for a big guy.

Hollins incorporates high-knee stretches into his pregame warmups to help get his muscles ready.

The biggest thing is, it teaches you how to jump, he said. As basketball players, we just jump high enough to dunk. You jump for track, you drive through your jump. So thats the biggest thing that helped me, muscles and things that you havent used.

As a member of the Celtics, those muscles could be put to use with any split-second lobs Rondo throws his way.

Brandon Pettigrew could be a TE option for Patriots

Brandon Pettigrew could be a TE option for Patriots

FOXBORO - The Lions are moving on from tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Could the Patriots be interested in moving him in?

New England’s tight end landscape has gone from brilliant to bleak in about a week with Rob Gronkowski done for the year, Martellus Bennett hobbling on bad ankles and an unknown Matt Lengel the only depth at the spot.

Which could put the team squarely in the market for anyone that could lend a couple of helping hands. Pettigrew is a former first-round pick who the Lions are reportedly about to release. They put him on the their non-football injury list on Tuesday, closing his chance to return to the team. He’d been practicing since November 22 and both he and Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter spoke positively about his return.

Pettigrew’s been rehabbing an ACL tear suffered last December. He turns 32 in February and was probably going to be released by the Lions in the offseason as he had a 2017 base salary of $4.35M. 

Once Pettigrew is released, he will pass through waivers as all players do after the trade deadline. If unclaimed, he can sign anywhere. His contract would travel with him so his new team would be on the hook for the remainder of his agreed-upon 2016 salary.

It wouldn’t be a horrific idea for the Patriots to put in a waiver claim on Pettigrew and see what he could bring them for the stretch run even if he had descended into disuse in Detroit.

Pettigrew caught 17 passes in the 22 games he’s played for the Lions since 2014. At 6-5, 278, he’s probably not as quick and agile as he was eight seasons ago when he was the 20th overall pick. Would it be a desperate move? Yes. But it’s a desperate situation at the position.

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

Ainge: Groin injury will 'probably' keep Thomas from playing Friday

There’s still no concrete answer on how long Isaiah Thomas’ right groin injury will keep him sidelined, but the 5-foot-9 guard probably will not play against Toronto on Friday.
 
Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, addressed Thomas’ availability on 98.5 the Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich show Thursday morning.
 
“It’s day to day,” said Ainge, who added that Thomas had an injection into his thigh muscle. “He is a warrior; he loves to play. He’ll be back faster than most players would be back after an injury. At the same time, we have to be really careful with Isaiah over the long haul and make sure he doesn’t come back and injure it.”
 
Thomas did not play in Boston’s 117-87 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, his first missed game since the 2014-15 season.
 
He is ranked among the NBA’s top-10 scorers with a career-high 26.0 points-per-game average, in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game.
 
Thomas has been effective while playing through an assortment of injuries during his time with Boston. But a groin injury isn't something that can just be played through,  which is why the Celtics are wisely shutting him down now.
 
“We’ll try and get him as much rest as we can and get him back on the court when he’s ready,” Ainge said.