The Boston Celtics held on as victors of a bizarre back-and-forth Game 7 against Washington Wizards in which backup big Kelly Olynyk heard chants around TD Garden in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Thomas stayed the Celtics’ offensive star with 29 points and 12 assists, but Olynyk was the series-saving MVP nobody saw coming.
Olynyk was there whenever the Celtics needed to score in the final frame, inside and out, flashing the versatility he can never show consistently. On Monday, he could, scoring 14 points in the final quarter as he helped lead his team to a 115-105 victory.
He finished the game with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting and couldn’t miss no matter who was thrown at him. Marcin Gortat struggled to chase him outside, and somehow even Markieff Morris couldn’t hold him down in the post.
Death by Olynyk was the most Celtics way to win and most Wizards way to lose
The Celtics lack the star-power to make anyone think they can beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in a series, but their collection of second-tier talents is moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Typically it’s Al Horford who falls into the second-scorer, but mindbogglingly enough he wasn’t the first thought on kickouts. This was Olynyk’s night.
His fourth quarter performance earned a standing ovation as he was subbed out with just over a minute to play.
Olynyk is the second Celtic since Kevin McHale to score 25 points or more off the bench in a playoff game. McHale’s performance came in 1993 — when Olynyk was just two years old.
The Wizards have missed the conference finals in 39 consecutive seasons, and in the most depressing way of all, a miraculous Olynyk performance spoiled John Wall’s stunning Game 6 game-winning three. The losing streak since Jimmy Carter was President lives on.
Isaiah Thomas was incredible as well
As he was for much of the postseason and especially in this series, Thomas was fantastic scoring the ball. His 29 points were vital before Olynyk got things really rolling, and his confidence is to a point where a deep three-pointer with 10 minutes to go felt like a dagger.
He’ll see Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith for tougher defensive assignments in the Eastern Conference Finals. But he had a solid showing no matter if Wall, Bradley Beal, or Otto Porter was thrown his way.
Olynyk won’t put on this kind of show against LeBron James and company, but Thomas must to stay competitive.