Collins suddenly at the center of things


MILWAUKEEThe spotlight for a reliable backup for Kevin Garnett has now landed on Jason Collins.
Once considered an end-of-the-bench addition to the roster, Collins has been the first big man off the bench for the C's the last few games to sub in for Garnett.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made it clear following Boston's 91-88 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday night that the decision to go with Collins ahead of Wilcox was not in connection with Wilcox's health.
Wilcox was unable to finish out Boston's loss to Brooklyn last week, in addition to missing a practice and the team's morning shootaround prior to defeating Portland on Friday, due to an illness.
"Jason gives us size and he's playing well," Rivers said.
It has been well documented how the Celtics struggle whenever Garnett leaves the floor.
After opening Saturday's game with a flurry of baskets and defensive stops, the C's had a 17-2 advantage when Collins entered the game for Garnett.
For a change, Boston actually increased its lead by a single point as Garnett spent the remainder of the first quarter on the bench while Collins helped the C's end the first with a 27-11 lead.
He finished Saturday's game with season highs in minutes played (14) and rebounds (5). It was the third straight game in which Collins played 10 or more minutes.
Meanwhile Wilcox had one rebound and one blocked shot while playing less than three minutes. It was the fewest minutes he has played since he logged three minutes against the Bucks on Nov. 2.
The use of Collins does not mean Wilcox won't have a role, although it's clear that Wilcox's minutes will be trimmed.
"He helps out," Rivers said of Collins. "Chris does his things, too. I got a feeling it will be back and fourth all year."
Whether he's playing as Garnett's primary backup or just another big man in the mix, Wilcox said he has no problem playing whatever role Doc Rivers asks of him.
"I just want to help this team win, man," Wilcox told "That's what everybody here wants to do; is win. When you have a team full of guys that are all about winning, you don't think a lot about role and things like that. Because end of the day, that doesn't matter. Competing, winning games; that's what you want."

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