Kelly Olynyk was already cooking. After subbing in for Al Horford at the 3:23 mark of the first quarter, he helped erase an early deficit with nine quick points. He wasn’t hesitant from beyond the arc and drove with purpose, but there was a moment in Game 5 when I knew that Playoff Olynyk was born.
After consistently abusing the slower Cristiano Felício, KO got switched up with Anthony Morrow on a pick-and-roll. Olynyk sealed the smaller Morrow and got a drop pass from Isaiah Thomas. Morrow didn’t make a play on the ball and slapped Olynyk hard.
You can literally hear Anthony Morrow slap Kelly Olynyk on this foul…I’d be mad too pic.twitter.com/qa102ghDRP— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 27, 2017
Here’s the photo evidence:
You could hear that Anthony Morrow slap and you could see it too pic.twitter.com/pHF0EAGGfZ— SB Nation (@SBNation) April 27, 2017
To Morrow’s credit, it was a good hard playoff foul to prevent an easy bucket, but it was KO’s reaction to it that made me think that our Kelly’s all growns up. He didn’t back down and he didn’t do something stupid like get into Morrow’s face. He displayed a level of maturity developed after four years of being a pro.
But that’s just one moment in a single game. The bigger picture has been even more telling. That brief stint in the first half is representative of just how good KO has been in the playoffs so far. He’s averaging a modest 9.4-3.4-2.4 in 19.2 minutes per game. When Al Horford signed with the Celtics, he remarked that one of the players that attracted him to Boston was KO and we’re seeing Olynyk’s versatility in full bloom now in the post-season.
Olynyk would only score three more points in the second half, but this three point play sparked the Celtics to go on an 18-3 run to close out a pivotal Game 5.
Major props to Olynyk for dropping the Happy Madison reference after the game:
Oh, and he went with a man bun last night so there’s that, too. If he continues this level of play, it’ll be interesting to see how that affects his (restricted) free agency this summer. Most capologists think that it’s impossible to keep KO AND Bradley AND Smart AND Thomas AND a lottery pick AND a max free agent and during the season, Olynyk’s inconsistency made him the odd man out, but if Playoff Man Bun helps extend a long playoff run, Olynyk makes a strong case to be part of this franchise’s future.