Hollins takes on increased role for Celts


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.

Celtics late rally falls short, Bulls hold on to win, 105-99


Celtics late rally falls short, Bulls hold on to win, 105-99

It was only 24 hours earlier that the Boston Celtics learned a valuable lesson about what can potentially happen if you let up on an opponent too soon.

The Chicago Bulls made the same mistake on Thursday as the Celtics wiped out a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter and made it a one-possession game for the last couple of minutes.

But like Boston did against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, the Bulls managed to fend off a late rally by Boston in handing the Celtics a 105-99 loss.

Boston had multiple opportunities to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth, only to consistently come up short.

Their last shot came with less than a minute to play and Boston trailing 101-99.

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown had the ball and seemingly had a mismatch with Nikola Mirotic guarding him.

Brown dribbled into the lane, spun away from Mirotic and left his feet and landed without anyone to pass to.

It would prove to be a critical turnover as Dwyane Wade came down afterwards and drained a 3-pointer, his fourth of the night, to make it a 104-99 game with 26.3 seconds to play.

That would be the Celtics’ last chance at a victory.

The Celtics trailed by as many as 15 points, but made it a game courtesy of a slew of baskets by Isaiah Thomas.

He finished with 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting.

As well as Thomas shot from the field, he’ll most remember this game for the shots he didn’t make; his free throws specifically.

A career 86 percent free throw shooter, Thomas was just 2-for-6 from the line on Thursday.

Boston (1-1) also got a strong game from Avery Bradley who had 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.

The Bulls, playing their season opener with a newly-formed Big Three of prodigal son Dwyane Wade, ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo and All-Star Jimmy Butler, didn’t waste any time establishing control of the game.

Chicago opened the game with an 8-2 run and led by as many as 15 points. Boston had moments in which it cut into Chicago’s lead, but the Bulls’ control of the game remained strong throughout the night.

Things got a bit chippy in the second quarter when Jae Crowder was called for an offensive foul against Jimmy Butler, a good friend of his as well as a former teammate at Marquette.

After Butler hit the ground, he used his legs to tie up Crowder who fell to the floor afterwards. Crowder then forcefully put the ball in Butler’s chest.

That led to some back and forth trash talk between Isaiah Thomas and ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo.

Officials reviewed the play and called all four players – Crowder, Thomas, Butler and Rondo – were called for a technical foul.

Tempers cooled down afterwards for both teams as the Chicago Bulls continued to stay red-hot from 3-point range.

The Bulls were especially impressive in the first half when they were 7-for-13 on 3s.

And leading the 3-point barrage was Wade who rarely looked to score beyond the 3-point line a year ago. He would finish with 22 points which included a trio of 4-pointers which was the first time he made that many 3s since the 2012-2013 season when he played for the Miami Heat.

Chicago’s top scorer was Butler who had 24 points and seven rebounds.

Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter


Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter

Minutes before they opened their regular season Thursday against the Celtics, the Bulls announced the signing of shooting guard R.J. Hunter.

Click here to view the compete story on CSNChicago.com