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May 1, 2013

Celtics players happy for former teammate Collins

(Continued)

Now he’s a free agent. Some Celtics said they’d like to have him back next season.

“Most definitely,” Green said before practice for Wednesday night’s fifth game against the New York Knicks. “He was an awesome teammate. He played the game hard. He set good screens to get me open. That’s all you can ask for.”

The Knicks lead the first-round series 3-1 and can wrap it up at home. The Celtics avoided a sweep with a 97-90 overtime win on Sunday in which Terry scored their last nine points. But they’re still at a big disadvantage.

Would Terry like Collins back?

“Definitely needed his toughness,” he said. “Would love to have it in this series. He’s one of the toughest guys in the NBA.”

Several Celtics praised Collins as intelligent, very professional and a good teammate who was a positive influence in the locker room despite his minor role. They were happy for him that he made his announcement.

“He’s had a huge, tremendous weight lifted off of him and that’s all you can ask for any man or woman is to be at peace with themselves,” Terry said. “Then you can go find that ultimate happiness.

“I know how dedicated he is to his craft and he was a great teammate, regardless of his sexual preference. It didn’t matter to me.”

Kevin Garnett was “just happy for him obviously being able to be himself. ... Personal preference is just that. We’re here to support everything he’s doing.”

Green called Collins “a good friend” and said “I’m truly, truly happy for him.”

And, he said, he never considered the possibility of having a gay teammate.

“It never crossed my mind, but I’m not against it,” he said. “We all are here for the same reason and that’s to win, no matter if you’re gay, if you’re straight. It doesn’t matter to me.”

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