Celtics

Celtics working to add free-agent Hollins

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Celtics working to add free-agent Hollins

MILWAUKEE Barring an unexpected contract snafu, Ryan Hollins will be joining the Boston Celtics.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com that the C's are planning to add the 7-foot veteran to the roster.

In order to make room for Hollins, the C's are expected to waive Chris Wilcox (heart condition) who will have surgery later this month and will be out for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season.

Of the big men available, Hollins was one of the few still remaining that the C's had interest in adding. Once Ronny Turiaf chose Miami and J.J. Hickson was claimed off waivers by Portland, Hollins was arguably the next best big man.

However, Boston's interest in Hollins goes back before he was waived by Cleveland on Tuesday.

Hollins, who played at UCLA, spent the lockout working out and playing in games with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Ainge said Garnett and Pierce urged him this summer to try and sign Hollins.

"They really liked his game and the way he could play with them," Ainge said. "I think he would fit in well with what we do."

It is unclear how much Hollins will help immediately.

For the C's, having another big on the roster is help in itself.

With both Wilcox and Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) out for the season, Boston's big-man rotation was down to Garnett, Brandon Bass and rookies Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson. Of that foursome, only Garnett (6-11) and Stiemsma (7-0) actually play the center position.

The 27-year-old Hollins has appeared in 299 games (54 starts) with Charlotte, Dallas, Minnesota and most recently, Cleveland. He has averaged 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds per game over the course of his career.

If the C's are able to get his contract ironed out today, he would most likely suit up for the first time against Washington on Sunday.

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

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