Hollins takes on increased role for Celts

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Hollins takes on increased role for Celts

ATLANTA For most of this season, the Boston Celtics have been a team built on opportunities.

If you get one, take it.

That's exactly what C's center Ryan Hollins has done lately, whose play may earn him even more minutes -- and potentially move him ahead of rookie Greg Stiemsma in the rotation.

Hollins' play was among the few highlights for the Celtics in their 87-86 loss to Atlanta in Game 5.

He had 5 points and 4 rebounds, numbers that came well short of indicating just how much of an impact he had on the C's in Game 5.

Boston was plus-6 with Hollins in the game. The only Celtics with a higher plusminus ratio in Game 5 were Mickael Pietrus (plus-11) and Kevin Garnett (plus-17).

"His energy . . . the one thing you know when Ryan comes in the game, is something's going to happen," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "That's why we put him in and we rode him."

In just a few minutes of court time, Hollins' aggressive play seemed to bother the Hawks who managed to foul him three times away from the ball.

Ranked by a survey of players as the NBA's 11th dirtiest player, it's clear that Hollins is from the Kevin Garnett School of Mental Warfare.

When asked about possibly getting under the Hawks' skin a bit, he replied, "Hopefully. My job is to come out and play hard."

Said Rivers: "He's an instigator with how hard plays. He gets under people's skin. That's fine by us."

That's exactly what he did.

His play was especially important during a critical 10-0 run by Boston that featured Rajon Rondo either scoring or assisting on all but two points during the run.

Part of that success involved Hollins, who helped force a couple of turnovers in addition to catching a lob pass from Rajon Rondo for an alley-oop in the second half.

"I'm always trying to bring energy," Hollins said. "If I'm not bringing energy or changing the game, I'm not doing my job. So that's what I do."

And he may continue to get opportunities as Greg Stiemsma continues to struggle.

Atlanta's athletic frontcourt has seemed a bit overwhelming at times for Stiemsma, who has also labored up and down the court with foot issues.

Certainly his health has been a factor in Hollins' rise to a more prominent role.

But more than anything else, Hollins is simply playing better -- a lot better -- than Stiemsma.

Atlanta has the kind of lineup versatility that makes this series one seemingly more suited for Hollins than Stiemsma.

But don't think for a minute that Hollins is taking his increase in playing time for granted.

"I'm ready for any situation," Hollins said.

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

Bradley still hurting, will miss Celtics game vs. Trail Blazers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The right Achilles’ strain that has kept Avery Bradley out of five of the Celtics’ past six games, will continue to keep the 6-foot-2 guard sidelined.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will not play Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
 
Stevens added that no additional tests have been taken and the Achilles’ itself is structurally fine.
 
“He’s got a lot of soreness around it, and that’s one of those things you have to be ultra-careful with,” said Stevens, who later added that Bradley would not practice with the team today. “When he [Bradley] came back, he said he felt a lot better, and then he played and the next day he practiced. We didn’t do anything live but he did a lot of cutting and did not feel near as good. That’s why he didn’t play Wednesday.”
 
The absence of Bradley was clearly felt in a 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, a game in which Knicks guard Derrick Rose – the man Bradley would have likely spent defending most of the game – scored 30 points.
 
This season, all-NBA first team defender is  the Celtics’ No. 2 scorer at 17 points per game along with averaging a team-best 6.9 rebounds.
 
In addition, Bradley is shooting a career-best 40.9 percent from 3-point range, as well as dishing out 2.4 assists per game, which also represents a career-high for the 26-year-old.


 

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown still undecided on All-Star dunk contest

WALTHAM, Mass. – To dunk or not to dunk with the best in the NBA?
 
That is the question Celtics rookie forward Jaylen Brown is grappling with these days.
 
The 6-foot-7 Brown confirmed that he has been invited to be part of the league’s Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend, but hasn’t made up his mind as to whether he will participate.
 
Brown said he’ll likely make a decision about it sometime this weekend.
 
While he certainly understands that is indeed an honor for any player to be asked to participate in All-Star weekend, Brown said his trepidation about being part of the slam dunk competition has a lot to do with its potential impact on his body and how that may affect his ability to recharge over the weekend and get ready to finish out his rookie season strong.
 
If he decided to enter the contest, he would be facing some really stiff competition from last year’s winner Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, whose battle last season put their slam dunk competition among the best ever.
 
Facing tough competition is not something that concerns Brown.
 
“I’m not worried about anybody or anything,” Brown said. “I think I have a lot to offer. Just like your rookie year, your body and everything … it’s a lot. All those dunks, they look cool but it takes a toll on your body for sure. I want to put myself in the best position to help the team.”
 
While his focus has been on the Celtics, Brown acknowledged he has been getting a few tips on the competition from teammate Gerald Green, who is also a former Slam Dunk champion.
 
“[Gerald] Green has been coaching me up, giving me a lot of good ideas I wouldn’t have thought on my own,” Brown said. “If I do decide to do it, it’ll be some stuff [nobody] has seen before.”