Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
In the first half of Wednesday’s game, the Boston Celtics put together a video tribute for Kelly Olynyk that highlighted the significant contributions he made in the New England community when he played for the Celtics.
It was a warm, fuzzy moment for all involved.
And then … he just murdered the Celtics on the floor in every way imaginable.
The happy-go-lucky, lovin’-the-kids Olynyk on the jumbotron was replaced by an on-the-floor assassin who had his best scoring game in the NBA as the Miami Heat defeated the Celtics 90-89.
Olynyk led all Miami players with a career-high 32 points on an insanely efficient 12-for-15 shooting.
Making matters worse for the Celtics (26-8), one of his mentors a year ago, Al Horford, fouled out early in the fourth when he reached in on – who else? – Olynyk.
“He did what he’s best at,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “You know, when he can play off of the high post and fake handoffs and you keep biting on all those fakes like we did all night, you let him drove to his left hand – which he’s great at – and then you give him too much of a cushion to get shots, I mean after he gets to the rim, gets foul shots, and everything else he feels really good, and he played a great game.”
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged getting Olynyk and another ex-Celtic Jordan Mickey, off to a good start tonight was one of the key objectives for Miami (16-15).
“We knew how important it was for KO (Kelly Olynyk) and J. Mick (Jordan Mickey),” Spoelstra said. “Both of these guys wanted to play well here and come out here with a win and they both played great minutes.”
NBCSportsBoston — Boston Celtics ‘shouldn’t be surprised’ by Olynyk’s effort in return
“Oh, hey, here comes Mr. Aw Shucks, Kelly Olynyk, sure is nice to see him, I hope he scores a handful of points tonight, and for his sake, I hope he doesn’t have too many of his patented dribble-drive to the rim and then fall down and lose the ball once he gets there moments, also he should really shave off those chin pubes, wait…. wait… OH MY GOD, IS THAT WHAT I THINK IT IS? IT’S GAME 7 KELLY! OH SHIT… GAME 7 KELLY JUST KILLED THE CELTICS!”
That was pretty much the horror story that played out in my head last night. Rooting for Kelly Olynyk in Boston was an emotional roller coaster (you can, and should, always ask Chuck about this. His tweet archive on Kelly should be bound into a coffee table book). It just so happens that in his one trip back to the Garden this year wearing Red and Black, we got the absolute best of Kelly, a Kelly we rarely saw here in Boston
This continues a trend started last week by former Celtics’ role players, when Jonas Jerebko walked into the Garden with an undermanned Jazz team and was an integral part of an upset over a Celtics squad that is both coming down to earth and feeling the loss of one of its current role players, Marcus Morris. Heck, even Jordan Mickey put up a stat line last night (8 and 8) that we rarely saw over three years here in Boston.
The Celtics are back home on Saturday night to play the Bulls. Let’s hope Chicago doesn’t pluck Gerald Green, RJ Hunter and James Young before game night. These listless Celtics would be doomed.
On page 2, in match-up of coaching stars, score one for Spo
The Boston Celtics fell Wednesday night partially because of a defense the Miami Heat installed over the span of “36 seconds.”
OK, so Kelly Olynyk was exaggerating when he said the Heat worked on their zone defense for less than a minute at shootaround Wednesday morning. The tactic still knocked the Celtics out of sorts during a costly third-quarter run, which started with the Celtics ahead by seven and ended with them spiraling into a sea of bricks.
“It threw them kind of off their rhythm,” Olynyk said after scoring a career-high 32 points to beat the Celtics, 90-89. “And that was kind of what the purpose of it was. I don’t think they were prepared for a zone at all. I don’t think many teams in the NBA really are at all, but when we did that it kind of threw them off their rhythm, gave us a little bit of breathing room, and allowed us to do some more things.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens didn’t mind the looks the Celtics got against the zone, but realized the defense helped Miami start a turnaround. Over a five-minute stretch, Boston scored two points on 1-for-7 shooting, mostly against the zone. The Heat didn’t switch back to man-to-man until after Marcus Smart got a little hot from behind the arc later in the quarter.
I’m sure other teams have mixed zone in intermittently this season, but the last team to do so and have it affect the game against the Celtics was the Dallas Mavs last month, a move which jeopardized the then growing Celtics’ win streak. Coaches like Rick Carlisle, Brad Stevens and Erik Spoelstra are always looking to incorporate wrinkles to give their teams an advantage, and each of these guys has had teams that have outperformed expectations at times over the last three years. Part of the success of last night’s strategy by Spoelstra was the inability of the Celtics to hit some open looks, but we’ll still chalk this Heat win up to some really good coaching by a really good coach and some bizarrely transcendent play from our old friend, Kelly.
And finally, Tatum’s finger is going to be good, but more importantly let’s watch Yabu again and again
Not only do we need Yabu to thrive so that the Celtics can deepen the talent on their bench, but we need Yabu hitting 3s so he can continue to do the bow/arrow/dab after every make. Seriously… it’s the most heart-warming and hilarious celebration and I don’t think I will ever grow tired of it. Just look at Shane Larkin’s face as Yabu does his thing coming back down the court.
More Yabu, please.