BOSTON – Even during pre-game warmups, it was something that hasn’t been seen on the TD Garden floor in quite a while – Kelly Olynyk raising up for long, long 3-balls that hit nothing but the bottom of the net a la Steph Curry-style.
The 7-foot center cites his injured right shoulder feeling better – a lot better actually - for his much-improved confidence.
And the timing could not be any better as the Celtics prepare to fight for their playoff lives tonight against Atlanta which holds a 3-2 series lead and could close out this series with a win tonight.
The Hawks are one of the better teams in the East, but have certainly benefited from a number of Celtics being either out because of injuries (Avery Bradley, hamstring) or limited as is the case with Olynyk who did not play in Games 2 and 3 while seeing less than four minutes in Game 4.
When I asked Olynyk whether this was the best he has felt in this series, he responded, “by far.”
“It’s getting better every day,” he told CSNNE.com. “It’s getting stronger. The motion is coming back … time heals everything, right? The further along we get the better it gets.”
During the regular season, Olynyk averaged a career-high 10.0 points per game along with 4.1 rebounds in 20.2 minutes while shooting a team-best 40.5 percent from 3-point range.
In this series, Olynyk has averaged just 0.7 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in just 8.7 minutes per game while shooting just 14.3 percent from the field which includes him missing both of his 3-point attempts in the series.
But health-wise, this is as good an opportunity for him to break out of his funk and do his part to help the Celtics live to play another game.
“The motion feels good,” he said. “A little discomfort but now it’s doing good. That’s where you want to be going into this game.”