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.

Stars, studs and duds: Thomas 'not worried' about end of scoring streak

Stars, studs and duds: Thomas 'not worried' about end of scoring streak

BOSTON – You knew sooner or later, Isaiah Thomas’ impressive scoring streak of games with 20 or more points had to come to an end.

That time was Monday night as Thomas had 19 points in Boston’s 114-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

While the Hawks certainly played well defensively against Thomas and the rest of the Celtics, the 5-foot-9 guard is quick to acknowledge that the Hawks didn’t all of a sudden come up with a game plan that can shut him down.

“They didn’t do anything special,” said Thomas after missing 17 of his 21 shot attempts. “I just missed a lot of shots in the paint that I usually make. I got to where I wanted to, but that wasn’t just me it was our team. We missed a lot of shots that we usually make and you got to tip your hat off to the Atlanta Hawks.”

In doing so, Thomas’ franchise-record streak of consecutive games with 20 or more points now stands at 43.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens saw first-hand how his players – including Thomas – missed a lot of shots they usually make.

But limiting Boston offensively always starts with how you defend Thomas.

“They were really aggressive on him,” Stevens said. “They were really tough on him. They bodied him up, they were physical, they had a bunch of different guys on him at different times, they were very active off of the screens.”

And as far as his streak of games with at least 20 points, Thomas said he’s not disappointed that it has come to an end.

“I’ll break it again,” he said. “I’m not worried about it, I’ll break it.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game which ended with a 114-98 Celtics loss to Atlanta.

 

STARS

Dennis Schroder

He was arguably the biggest difference-maker on the floor Monday night. In addition to doing an exceptional job defending Isaiah Thomas, he also led the Hawks with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting with four rebounds and five assists.

Dwight Howard

His ejection aside, Howard’s presence around the rim at both ends of the floor caused major problems for Boston. He finished with a double-double of 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting along with 12 rebounds and two blocked shots.

Isaiah Thomas

The Hawks did about as good a job as we’ve seen any team at defending Thomas who still managed to lead the Celtics in scoring with 19 points on 4-for-21 shooting. For a minute there, he seemed to be flirting with a quadruple-double. In addition to his 19 points, he also had seven rebounds, seven assists and seven turnovers.

 

STUDS

Jaylen Brown

His play was one of the few positives for Boston. He came off the bench to score 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting to go with five rebounds.

Taurean Prince

Only Paul Millsap logged more minutes on Monday than Prince whose defense and rebounding were huge. He had a near double-double of eight points and 12 rebounds.

 

DUDS

Celtics’ rebounding

This could be a dud for Boston almost every game, but they were worse than usual on Monday night. Atlanta had a 55-40 advantage on the boards which contributed to them dominating points in the paint (60-34), second-chance points (20-11) and fast-break points (15-7) which was fueled by rebounds followed by quick outlet passes to players in transition.

Isaiah Thomas on the end of his streak: 'I'll break it again'

Isaiah Thomas on the end of his streak: 'I'll break it again'

Isaiah Thomas discusses the Boston Celtics struggles and the end of his streak in the loss to the Atlanta Hawks.