Celtics Secret Weapon Wins Game 7

15 May, 2017

Late in the fourth quarter, after his 3-pointer put the Boston Celtics out front by double digits, the TD Garden faithful celebrated Kelly Olynyk’s improbable Game 7 performance by chanting his name.

“Kelly! Kelly! Kelly!”

Isaiah Thomas talked for the previous 72 hours about how legends were born in Game 7. But on a night when both Thomas and Bradley Beal were spectacular, it was Boston’s 7-foot backup center who somehow stole the show.

Olynyk scored 12 of his career-playoff-high 26 points over a three-and-a-half-minute stretch of the fourth quarter as the Celtics emerged with a 115-105 triumph over the Washington Wizards in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Boston is headed back to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2012. The top-seeded Celtics host the second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 on Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Seated together at the podium following Game 7, Thomas dubbed Olynyk the “MVP” of the game. Asked if he heard the repeated “Kelly!” chants from the Garden crowd, Olynyk offered, “I did hear that, in between MVP chants for Isaiah.”

Olynyk is the first Celtics reserve to score 25-plus points in a playoff game since Eddie House scored 31 on May 6, 2009, against the Orlando Magic. Olynyk’s 26 points were the most by any bench player in a Game 7 since Leandro Barbosa scored 26 points for the Suns in a 2006 playoff game against the Lakers, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Olynyk finished 10-of-14 shooting overall, all four of his misses coming from behind the 3-point arc, where he typically does his damage. But on this night, Olynyk picked the Wizards apart inside, feasting when the defense rushed to contest Thomas, who finished with a team-high 29 points. Olynyk was also perfect on all six of his field goal attempts that were contested in Game 7.

Olynyk often implored the Garden crowd to get loud during the fourth quarter, and the fans showered him with a standing ovation when he checked out with 1:37 to play.

“It was unbelievable. Especially to do it in front of our fans, the city of Boston,” Olynyk said. “It was unbelievable to be in there, feel that energy, and feel that enthusiasm — the passion that 20,000 people have and just thrive off that. It was pretty special to be a part of. Hopefully we can relive that.”


Image Celtics twitter

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