Why Garnett calls Hollins a friend

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Why Garnett calls Hollins a friend

Ryan Hollins vividly remembers the first time he met Kevin Garnett.

It was during an offseason pickup game in California in the summer of 2002. Hollins was entering his freshman year at UCLA and Garnett was one of the top players in the NBA. The teenager was awestruck.

Im like, man thats Kevin Garnett. Wow. Thats Kevin Garnett right there, Hollins, who signed with the Celtics last week, recalled. Then Im playing against him, so Im like Ive got to get my A-game. I had never seen somebody my size that could move like I do and shoot and shoot jumpers and it take it to the hole. Id never seen that.

He goes hard all the time and he talks all the time. How he is in Game 7 of the Finals, hes doing that in pick up games. Its like, wow.

Hollins entered the league in 2006 and crossed paths with Garnett during both NBA and summer games. At seven feet tall, Hollins admired the way Garnett dominated as a big man.

He wanted to learn from the veteran and began picking his brain whenever they were together. Last year Hollins saw Garnett more often due to the lockout and took advantage of the extended offseason.

This summer in particular we had a chance to really bond, he said. The way he talks, the way he communicates, his attention, his intensity, thats what I want to take into my game and be better with.

The relationship was not one-sided. Garnett saw potential in the 27 year old. He saw drive and hunger to win. He saw the things he likes to see in a player.

I had a chance to spend some time with him this summer, said Garnett. Summertime is the time when youre working on things, but for me, I dont make a lot of friends and I can say that I made one in him now. I like the way the kid approaches the game, he wants to be more than good. You see it in his face, you see it in his work ethic. Im a big fan of his. So Im glad hes here and whatever like any other of the young guys that are here, whatever he wants to know, Im here for him.

Hollins feeds off of Garnetts intensity and has incorporated it into his game over the years. With that also has to come a sense of control. Hollins picked up a technical foul in his Celtics debut on Friday less than a minute after checking into the game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

I told him be careful about my intensity because itll get him kicked out of the league, Garnett said with a smile. His first game in Philly he got a fine and he got a tech like 30 seconds into the game so you might want to be careful with that. This intensity comes with a sense of meditation and a sense of under control. But I love his intensity. Kid plays really, really hard.

Said Hollins, You dont want your problem to be, 'hey my big man was soft tonight' (laughs). Its not going to be a problem of mine. Im going to be ready to go. But I never want to do anything to hurt the team.

One area of his game Hollins is specifically focusing on is his rebounding. In spite of his size, he is averaging just over two boards per game this season and 2.3 for his career overall. Garnett, on the other hand, is grabbing 8.2 per game. Hollins has promised to eat, sleep rebounding as a member of the Cs.

I am a guy thats going to play really hard, a guy thats going to get better, he said. Thats the plan (to surprise people). Coming to a veteran team will make things easy. I want to prove I belong here. I want to win. I didnt come here just to be here. I want to win. I want to be a part of something. This is special here.

Just as he has done over the years, Hollins will continue to seek advice from Garnett. The two sit one locker away from each other and Hollins plans to stay within earshot.

Youd be a fool to never take his advice, he said. 17 years in the NBA, how many All-Star appearances, I can go down the list. I learned about his intensity night in and night out. Its not just one day, or Im having a bad day, its every single time. Same thing. For a guy to play hard for 17 years in the NBA, I dont know what to compare that to.

Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

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Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia used nifty baserunning to score from first base on David Ortiz's double in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Sunday for their 11th consecutive win.

Pedroia singled off Eddie Gamboa (0-1) to start the inning. The relay throw on Ortiz's hit to right center beat Pedroia to plate but he avoided Luke Maile's first tag. Pedroia's momentum carried him past the plate and when he went back to touch it, Maile was charged with an error when the ball dropped out his glove on another tag try.

Pedroia hit a solo homer and Mookie Betts extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single for the Red Sox, who secured at least an AL wild-card spot Saturday night. Boston's magic number to clinch the division title dropped to two.

Joe Kelly (4-0) went 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander and Heath Hembree combined to strikeout 11 consecutive batters to establish a major league-record. The New York Mets held the previous mark when Tom Seaver struck out 10 in a row against San Diego on Apr. 22, 1970.

Boston also set a club record by striking out 21 through nine. Kelly added two more in the 10th.

There was a moment of silence before the game for Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident early Sunday. Fernandez played high school baseball in nearby Tampa, Florida after defecting from Cuba.

The Rays planned to honor Ortiz before his final game at Tropicana Field but canceled the ceremony at Ortiz's request after Fernandez's death. He had three hits in five at-bats and moved past Frank Thomas for 107th place on the career list with 2,469 hits.

Ortiz has 35 homers and 90 RBIs at Tropicana Field, which is the most of any visiting player. Alex Rodriguez is next with 30 homers and 73 RBIs.

HONORING BIG PAPI

Rays 3B Evan Longoria and RHP Chris Archer informally presented Ortiz with an oil painting of his 500th home run, which he hit at Tropicana Field last season. Ortiz was also given 34 special handmade Diamond Crown Maximus cigars and $5,000 donations in his name to the Miracle League of St. Petersburg, Florida and the University of South Florida Latino scholarship program.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Ortiz will play at Yankee Stadium for the final time during a three-game series against New York that starts Tuesday night. "Playing baseball in New York is something that is very special," Ortiz said. LHP David Price (17-8) will start for the Red Sox Tuesday night.

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (7-11) will face White Sox RHP James Shields (3-11) Monday night in the first of four games in Chicago.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.

 

Carlo, Heinen and DeBrusk highlight young B's lineup for preseason opener

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Carlo, Heinen and DeBrusk highlight young B's lineup for preseason opener

The Bruins had already let it be known that Tuukka Rask, David Pastrnak and David Backes wouldn’t be playing Monday night in their preseason opener vs. the Blue Jackets. 

Instead, all three will participate in their first day of training camp practice on Monday morning, and the Bruins will ice a young, prospect-laden group against Columbus at TD Garden.

“[Camp] has been really good,” said assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “There are a lot of new faces around here, so we’re just getting them to understand how we want to play. I think they did a good job with it and they should be ready to go [against Columbus].”

Here is the lineup of players expected to suit up for Boston’s preseason opener on Monday night: Brandon Carlo, Colby Cave, Peter Cehlarik, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Seth Griffith, Colton Hargrove, Jimmy Hayes, Danton Heinen, Anton Khudobin, Sean Kuraly, John-Michael Liles, Zane McIntyre, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Peter Mueller, Riley Nash, Rob O’Gara, Tyler Randell and Jakub Zboril. 

Carlo, Cehlarik, Heinen and DeBrusk are all serious candidates to threaten for an NHL roster spot, and these preseason games will be a big test to see how roster ready they might actually be at their precocious young age.

The Bruins haven’t said when the first cuts of training camp are expected, but one round of early cuts are expected next week perhaps after Wednesday night’s preseason home game against the Detroit Red Wings.

“We’ll see how tomorrow night goes and then make a decision [on a lineup] for Wednesday, but I think we’ll try to give all the guys a pretty good look and go from there,” said Pandolfo.