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.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

Raptors, in pursuit of Celtics in playoff race, lose Lowry for perhaps rest of regular season

The Eastern Conference playoff race, seemingly altered by the moves -- and non-moves (hello there, Celtics) -- of some of the contenders, just took another twist.

The Raptors, bolstered by the acquisition of Serge Ibaka and appearing poised to make a run toward the top of the standings after a come-from-behind victory over the Celtics on Friday, were hit with a body blow Monday when it was announced All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry needs surgery on his right wrist and may miss the remainder of the regular season.

ESPN reports Lowry is expected to be sidelined from four to eight weeks. Toronto hopes to have him back for the playoffs.

The Raptors are currently in fourth place in the conference at 35-24, trailing Cleveland (40-17), Boston (38-21) and Washington (34-23). Without Lowry, and facing a rough, six-of-their-next-seven-games-on-the-road stretch, Toronto may stop focusing on catching the Wizards and/or Celtics and focus on holding off Atlanta (32-26) in order to hold onto home-court in the first round.

Lowry, 30, who missed the last two games because of the injury, is averaging a career-best 22.8 points per game. He also is averaging 6.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds.