Hollins provides a boost in second quarter
Reserve center/forward Ryan Hollins provided inspiration as the Celtics faltered in the second quarter of Monday night’s 82-81 loss to the 76ers at TD Garden.
Hollins won a jump ball off a Ray Allen missed lefthand layup, Allen getting another lefthander at the 9:38 mark of the quarter.
Hollins also sparked the Celtics with two foul shots, a dunk off a Rajon Rondo lob for a 33-29 lead with 6:15 left in the half, then drew a charge from Lavoy Allen out of a Philadelphia timeout. Hollins drew another charge, this time from Andre Iguodala. Hollins scored 4 points in 14 minutes.
But the Celtics struggled offensively in the quarter - only Rondo among the starters scored until a Paul Pierce 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds left.
“They’re a tough defensive team, they grind it out defensively, they try the fast break and they’re not going to give in,’’ Pierce said of the Sixers.
The Celtics reserves, led by Hollins, had displayed their effectiveness in a 92-91 win in Game 1 Saturday.
“The whole unit saved the game for us,’’ coach Doc Rivers said before Game 2. “They kind of gave the first unit the blueprint of how the game should be played, defensively. When they came on the floor, the energy picked up. And I thought when the starters went back on the floor they saw what worked.’’
Hollins symbolized the fast-moving, uninhibited style of the reserves in Game 1. He scored his only field goal on a lob pass from Rondo late in the opening quarter. After that, Hollins caused almost as much damage to himself as the Sixers. He landed awkwardly after missing a dunk on a Rondo alley-oop. Then, Hollins contested a Thaddeus Young shot, Young sustaining an ankle injury that contributed to a 5-point, 21-minute performance.
Rivers has said when Hollins enters, “something happens,’’ though not always something positive.
Missed opportunity Ray Allen (17 points) led the Celtics in scoring for the first time since a March 19 regular-season visit to Atlanta. But Allen missed a jumper out of a timeout with 28.9 seconds remaining with the Celtics trailing, 76-75.
“Jrue Holiday recovered and I just tried to escape with the dribble and I still got a good look out of it, you know,’’ Allen said. “And the ball was in and out. After I went back to the bench I looked up at the score and it was like we are down 1 and that shot would have been really big for us.’’
Tough-it-out situations Guard Avery Bradley departed with a left shoulder injury after his shot was blocked by Lavoy Allen with 5:22 to go in the first half. He returned, however, and finished with 8 points in 20 minutes . . . Pierce wore a knee brace while performing with a medial collateral ligament sprain . . . Mickael Pietrus broke out of a shooting slump with a 3-for-5 night, including two 3-pointers in a 46-second span early in the final quarter . . . Rivers won an award from the Professional Basketball Writers Association for excellence in his field and cooperation with media and fans.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.