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The Read & React: Thomas time

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Another killer quarter for IT4th closes out Charlotte and betters the Celtics’ 13-3 run, but it could be Kelly Olynyk quickly taking on a bigger role that could push the Celtics even further.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

More minutes Klynyk (Bill Sy): Just like some of Kelly Olynyk’s post moves, his slowly but surely returned to form. He’s put together a five-game stretch averaging 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3 assists. Brad Stevens said after KO’s 15-9-4 performance of the bench, “the threat of Kelly Olynyk is there every time he’s on the court.” To wit, it’s the variety and versatility of where he can hurt you that makes KO so important. There’s the three point shooting of course. He’s on a hot streak of 11-for-15, but against the bigger Hornets, we saw Olnyk’s complete game.

The bounce is real, the Euro step is real, and the McHale up-and-under is real. He also showed off his point guard skills as a playmaker.

I talked about the importance of Marcus Smart as a post up playmaker and how it creates opportunities for shooters. Having Olynyk on the block is a more traditional set up and it’s just another dimension that the Celtics are developing. He doesn’t even get credit for that Crowder three from Horford, but it’s his instinctive screen on Marco Belinelli that frees Jae up.

And maybe more importantly, he’s doing a lot of this damage next to Al Horford as the center. Earlier in the season, he played a lot of his minutes with Jonas Jerebko or as a floor spacer next to Amir Johnson, but last night against the Hornets, KO and Horford were interchangeable above and below the break. Ideally, one of them should be able to take advantage of their match up whether it’s posting up or stretching the floor from behind the arc. At his introductory presser, Horford had talked about how excited he was to play alongside Olynyk and we’re finally seeing what that could look like for the rest of this season and possibly seasons to come.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

So, I’m not going to think about the fact that this was a bun game and that he’s WIDELY MORE EFFECTIVE WITH A BUN. I’m not going to think about KO’s eating habits, whether it’s a burrito in four bites or Thai food or a wrap. I’m not going to think about Ainge passing up on Giannis Antetokounmpo for Olynyk. I’m not even going to think about what Kelly’s going to cost this summer and how we could potentially lose him if Danny lands a big free agent. I’m just enjoying peak Olynyk and thinking about what this could mean in the second half of the season.

Play of the night (Bill Sy): A picture says a thousand words, so here are three that sum up Marcus Smart.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

That Tommy point lead to a Jaylen Brown lay up after the Hornets cut down a 13-point lead to 7.