Olynyk (shoulder) available for Game 4, but will he play?


Olynyk (shoulder) available for Game 4, but will he play?

BOSTON - In a bit of a surprise on Sunday, Kelly Olynyk is active for Game 4 against the Hawks.

Olynyk, who has been dealing with a right shoulder injury, was limited in Game 1 and missed both Game 2 and Game 3 in the series.

But while Olynyk will dress for the game, it doesn't sound like he's going to be a major factor in it or assume his usual role in the rotation. Brad Stevens just found out at the team's walkthrough around 2:45 p.m. that Olynyk was available to play.

“We’ll play it by ear, see how the game is going and everything else and see what direction we decide to go,” Stevens said. “Certainly it’s great that he’s available, and there’s certainly a chance he plays for us.

"It's going to be up to me [if he plays] because he hasn't done anything in a few days as we walked through. Certainly I think that he could play minutes for us in the first half, could play some but he's not necessarily going to be in it for sure. So we'll wait and see. But he is available."

Olynyk had some tape over his shoulder for added support before Game 4, and will keep it that way during the game. He said the shoulder is feeling a lot better, and range of motion has improved. As far as its strength goes, that's improved in "certain motions", but not all.

"I haven't done a lot of contact," Olynyk said. "Done a little bit in the strength room, just some resistance, contact, hit a little so you know you can bounce off it a little. But there's a fine line obviously between over-fatiguing it, using it, because it fatigues quickly and [I'm] trying to rest it, so just make sure it's ready to go at 6 [pm]."

The Celtics have been effective going small, and Stevens said they will continue to do just that with Jonas Jerebko at the power forward spot to start the game. Jerebko played 37 minutes and finished a team-high plus-14 in Game 3. The thinking there is essentially don't mess with success.

But if nothing else, Olynyk could be put in for certain situations as a decoy in order to open up the court a bit. He said the injury isn't affecting his shot as much as it's affecting his rebounding and defense. Regardless of how Stevens ends up using him if he chooses to, the Hawks will be ready.

"He’s a skilled four/five guy who fits in their offensive system well with the [dribble hand-offs] and pick-and-rolls," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "He spreads the floor with his shooting. We played him quite a bit during the regular season – obviously Game 1. Hopefully our guys understand what to do if and when he plays."

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

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“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”