Hollins making the most of playing time

713516.jpg

Hollins making the most of playing time

WALTHAM With the clock winding down to end the third quarter of Boston's Game 6 matchup against Atlanta, Rajon Rondo pulled up for a jumper that took one of those funny bounces off the rim. An alert Ryan Hollins chased the loose ball down. Moments later, Rondo hit a jumper to put the Celtics up by four points at the end of three quarters.

With the game's balance very much up in the air in the closing moments, Hollins once again came up with an offensive rebound that ultimately led to Kevin Garnett's go-ahead basket with 30 seconds to play in Boston's 83-80 Game 6 win over Atlanta that propelled the C's to the second round of the playoffs.

Hollins is the latest Celtic backup to make the most of his opportunity to play.

He's sure to get even more chances in the second round against a Philadelphia team that's loaded with athletic players on the perimeter and in the frontcourt.

In addition to his rebounding which has never been a strength of his, Hollins is also finding other ways to impact the game.

When you watch Hollins play, it's clear that his hustle and energy bothers some players and at times, makes them respond in a way that only benefits the C's.

"He's an irritant," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "He (bleep) guys off in practice. He does. he just irritates people, and I thought especially against Atlanta, they had guys who'd get upset. I thought Ryan's actions would bother some of the guys. The funny thing is, he's the nicest guy. He doesn't mean to. It's just what he does."

Boston will look for more of the same in their second round series against Philadelphia which begins in Boston on Saturday.
While the Celtics' Big Four and key rotation guys such as Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley will indeed garner most of the attention, the Celtics are well aware that it will take the play of some of the team's unsung heroes - players like Hollins - to contribute in a meaningful way even if his statistics only tell part of the story of how much he has contributed to the C's being where they are now.

"He's one of the better defensive centers in the league," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "He had a huge offensive rebound there late in the game when Kevin missed. Doc is going to call upon certain guys on certain nights; some guys won't play on certain nights, some guys will and they have to be ready. Ryan Hollins is just one of those guys that was ready to play (in Game 6)."

Thomas on not getting All-Star start: 'It hurts but I’ll be all right’

Thomas on not getting All-Star start: 'It hurts but I’ll be all right’

WALTHAM, Mass. –  Isaiah Thomas stood before the media throng on Friday afternoon at the Celtics’ practice facility and answered all the questions with the usual truthful tone sprinkled with a bit of humor.
 
But you could sense that he was still bitter about the results announced by the NBA on Thursday as to who will be the starters in next month’s All-Star Game.
 
Cleveland’s LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler were the frontcourt starters announced by the league. In the backcourt you will find Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, who finished in a tie with Thomas in this first season in which fans, media and players all have a say in who will be the game’s starting five, as opposed to past seasons in which the starters were chosen strictly by fans.
 
DeRozan and Thomas finished in a tie under the voting system, but DeRozan moved ahead of Thomas due to a tie-breaker (fan vote), in which DeRozan had about 41,000 more votes than Thomas.
 
“It’s not the end of the world; it’s all good,” said Thomas. “I was disappointed, but those guys deserve it as well. I did everything I could in my control to put myself in position to be a starter. It’s not the end of the world.”
 
Especially knowing that the coaches will vote him on to the team for the second year in a row.
 
But for Thomas to be even in the conversation speaks to how the league’s new system of choosing All-Star starters, makes the whole choosing of starters about more than just a popularity contest, which is the irony of Thomas being left off the starting five – it ultimately came down to DeRozan receiving more votes from fans than Thomas.
 
“I didn’t really look at it. I didn’t look at what the reason was, but it is what it is,” Thomas said. “I’ll use it as motivation. I have to get better. That’s all I took out of that. I’m not where I want to be.”
 
Thomas finished fourth in fan voting for the starting nod, but was second among players and first among Eastern Conference guards among the media.
 
“I appreciate everybody who voted for me, especially you [media] guys,” Thomas said. “The media showed me some love and then my peers showed me love too.”
 
But as far as coming so close to being an All-Star starter and not making it, Thomas said, “It hurts but I’ll be alright. I’ll use it as motivation and keep going.”
 
Thomas is having a banner season that has elevated his name and game into the conversation for the league’s MVP award that so far is being led by Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.
 
He averages 28.7 points per game, which is tops among Eastern Conference players and fourth overall. 

Among his more notable accomplishments this season, he scored a franchise-record 29 points in the fourth quarter of a win over Miami, and in the same game, wound up scoring a career-high 52 points.
 
Thomas isn’t the only NBA player who has had a season that most would believe would result in him being an All-Star starter.
 
“You look in the west, [Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook] averages a triple-double and he didn’t get in [to start],” Thomas said. “I guess…I’ll let everybody debate for me and argue for me. Those guys that made it who start, they deserved it.”
 

NBA reaches seven-year labor agreement with players' union

NBA reaches seven-year labor agreement with players' union

When was the last time you saw any labor contract — not just the NBA, not just pro sports, but in any business — get done before either side could opt-out, let alone the actual deadline?

That’s what happened with the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The teams had until Dec. 15 of last year to opt out, with the real deadline for a new deal being July 1 of this year. Yet the two sides reached a deal before either side even opted out.

Thursday the NBA and National Basketball Players’ Association announced that the new CBA had been signed. It’s a seven-year deal that kicks in July 1.

Click here for the complete story.