Clippers backup center Ryan Hollins has his teammates’ backs
Matt Barnes missed a three-point shot with 14.9 seconds left and the Clippers holding a one-point lead, but Ryan Hollins hustled for the offensive rebound, leading to two free throws by Jamal Crawford during Wednesday night’s exhibition game against the Utah Jazz.
Crawford made one of two free throws, then Hollins blocked a shot by Randy Foye with 5.2 seconds left, helping to preserve the Clippers’ 96-94 victory.
It’s that kind of activity the Clippers have come to expect from Hollins, their 7-foot backup center.
“That’s what I’m here to do,” Hollins said. “If I’m not doing that, I’m not doing my job. Rebounding, blocking shots, patrolling the back line of the defense, I’ve got to kind of cover for everybody. That’s my job, to sort of clean everything up.”
Hollins had five blocks, five rebounds and four points in 20 minutes in the game Wednesday.
His role may increase during the early part of the regular season if Lamar Odom’s knees and conditioning remain an issue.
Over a six-year NBA career, Hollins has averaged 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 13 minutes per game.
For Hollins, it has always been about hustling.
“When you’re the biggest guy on the floor, you’ve got to do that,” Hollins said. “I’m an athletic big, so my job is to be able to cover ground, guard guards, get in the paint, just being active around the rim.”
When the Clippers signed Hollins to a one-year deal for $800,000, they knew exactly what the former UCLA product would give them.
“He’s active,” Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. “You’ve got to put a body on him. He doesn’t have great timing at times, but he had a big block at the end of the Utah game. He’s long.”
Ready to defend
The idea, Caron Butler said, is for the Clippers to become a better “defensive-oriented” team.
After four exhibition games, the Clippers have given up more than 100 points once.
“I thought guys came in in great shape, able to play so many positions and moving fast on the perimeter and helping Blake [Griffin] and DeAndre [Jordan] out a lot,” Butler said.
“The more you contain the first and second dribble, it gives them an opportunity with their athleticism to come over and help and alter a lot of shots. So, that definitely changed and you can see that in preseason. That’s something that we got a lot better at.”
Odom, Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups didn’t practice Thursday.
Odom took a break because of his knees, but Del Negro said, “He’ll be fine.
“Grant is nursing some things, Lamar is nursing some things and Chauncey is picking his spots,” Del Negro said. “We’re a much different team when you add those three guys to our roster. So hopefully we can get them as healthy as possible and as quickly as possible to get some practice time.”
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