BOSTON – Kelly Olynyk was having a conversation this morning with one of his friends and naturally, their talk turned towards tonight’s Game 7 against the Washington Wizards.
It’s a big game, the kind that becomes as much about playing for pride as it is about playing to perform well.
And for this 7-footer from Canada, he takes a prideful approach to tonight’s game, akin to how he feels towards his native country.
“The best thing I compare it (Game 7) to … it’s like when you have one game to make the Olympics,” Olynyk told CSNNE.com a few minutes ago. “And that’s kind of what it’s like (Game 7) for me. That’s how I’m looking at it, the way I’m approaching it now.”
That’s a good thing, because Boston will need all hands on deck in order to emerge victorious tonight and in doing so, move on to the Eastern Conference finals where they would host the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
While there’s no mistaking the pressure that exists in a game of this magnitude, veterans like Al Horford - who has been in Game 7’s and emerged victorious - understand how important it is to stay in the moment and not let the game’s importance overcome them.
“The big thing for us is to just come out and just play with a lot of freedom, understand just because it’s a game 7, nothing changes,” Horford told CSNNE.com. “We have to come out and play, do the things we do; defend, be active, rebound and just move the ball.”
Olynyk, a key reserve for the Celtics this season, understands all too well how important he and the rest of Boston’s bench will be in tonight’s game.
Playing with good health and clear mind has been among the many mantras talked about this season by head coach Brad Stevens as being important to success.
Olynyk gets it.
“You just have to play,” he said. “You play a lot of games of basketball in your life. it’s another game with bigger ramifications and on a bigger stage. This is what it’s about.”