BOSTON – A scorer, rebounder, 3-point shooter and … doctor too?
No, the latter isn’t one of Jayson Tatum’s many talents, but he knew enough to pop his dislocated pinky back into place in the first quarter of Boston’s 90-89 loss to Miami.
Tatum went back to the locker room for additional tests, before rejoining the team.
He wound up playing just over 28 minutes, finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds with two assists and a blocked shot.
“When I fell down, I looked at it, popped it back in place and then came back to check to make sure I didn’t break it or anything like that,” said Tatum who added that it was the first time he had suffered any kind of dislocation injury.
The team taped it up before he re-entered the game.
“It was weird playing with the tape,” Tatum said. “Because my fingers couldn’t spread with it. I have to get used to it.”
When Tatum went down and headed back to the locker room, Jaylen Brown was among the Celtics players unsure of the severity of his injury.
“We just keep playing,” Brown said. “His finger dislocated; he came back, he was fine. But we always have that next-guy-up mentality.”
THE ‘OTHER’ EX-CELTIC
Kelly Olynyk got lots of praise for his play against his former team, but he wasn’t the only ex-Celtic coming back to haunt his old ball club. Jordan Mickey, who could barely get a spot on the active roster let alone play an active role in games, showed Boston just how much his game has improved since his time with the Celtics. Miami Heat injuries in the frontcourt have afforded him a chance to play some, and to his credit, he has made the most of his increased playing time. On Wednesday he had eight points and eight rebounds off the Heat bench.
“J. Mick’s minutes were very good, very impactful,” said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. “He is getting better. Each game, each opportunity he’s making the most of it but he’s improving. I like what I’m seeing.”
HORFORD FOULS OUT
Wednesday’s game against Miami was about as upset as anyone has seen Al Horford in quite some time. The 10-year veteran fouled out having played just 26 minutes and 35 seconds which was the least amount of time Horford has played before fouling out of a game. When asked about the fouls that came in rapid-fire succession in the fourth quarter, Horford replied, “Hard to explain. I don’t know what to tell you.”
It was only the ninth time in his career that he fouled out of a game, with all but two of the previous eight being games in which he played at least 30-plus minutes. “I don’t remember the last time I fouled out, to be honest,” Horford said. “And never that early. I was very surprised.”
One of the defensive wrinkles Miami threw at the Celtics was a zone defense that for a few possessions, seemed to keep the Celtics from getting into a rhythm.
“It’s one of those things sometimes when you miss one, two, three, like wide-open threes, which we had, it kind of compounds itself and then you think it’s a bigger deal than it is,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “Sometimes when you’re playing against it and you have a tendency to get a little tighter instead of a little freer; and I thought we got tighter as that, as it went on.”
Boston only had two players off the bench score, Marcus Smart (15 points) and Guerschon Yabusele (six points). … Marcus Morris (knee) remains out. … Daniel Theis played despite having his nose re-set on Monday. He had four rebounds in 19 minutes, 45 seconds of playing time.
BOSTON – In the first half of Wednesday’s game, the Boston Celtics put together a video tribute for Kelly Olynyk that highlighted the significant contributions he made in the New England community when he played for the Celtics.
It was a warm, fuzzy moment for all involved.
And then ... he just murdered the Celtics on the floor in every way imaginable.
The happy-go-lucky, lovin’-the-kids Olynyk on the jumbotron was replaced by an on-the-floor assassin who had his best scoring game in the NBA as the Miami Heat defeated the Celtics 90-89.
Olynyk led all Miami players with a career-high 32 points on an insanely efficient 12-for-15 shooting.
Making matters worse for the Celtics (26-8), one of his mentors a year ago, Al Horford, fouled out early in the fourth when he reached in on – who else? - Olynyk.
“He did what he’s best at,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “You know, when he can play off of the high post and fake handoffs and you keep biting on all those fakes like we did all night, you let him drove to his left hand – which he’s great at – and then you give him too much of a cushion to get shots, I mean after he gets to the rim, gets foul shots, and everything else he feels really good, and he played a great game.”
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged getting Olynyk and another ex-Celtic Jordan Mickey, off to a good start tonight was one of the key objectives for Miami (16-15).
“We knew how important it was for KO (Kelly Olynyk) and J. Mick (Jordan Mickey),” Spoelstra said. “Both of these guys wanted to play well here and come out here with a win and they both played great minutes.”
Mickey came off the Heat bench and had eight points and eight rebounds with two assists.
“It felt great to come in here and steal a win,” said Mickey, a second-round pick of the Celtics in 2015.
Olynyk made no secret about being a bit more fired up than usual playing in the TD Garden as an opponent for the first time.
And with the Celtics rallying late in the game, Olynyk could sense the crowd was getting more into the action, just how it was when he donned the Green and White.
“It definitely felt like a playoff game,” Olynyk said. “Playoff atmosphere for sure. That’s the way Boston’s crowd, fans are. I mean, they’re crazy about it. That was an emotional night. A fun night. I’m glad we came out of it with a win.”
While some may have been surprised at how dominant Olynyk was on Wednesday, his teammates like Marcus Smart weren’t.
“By this point, we shouldn’t be surprised,” Smart said. “That’s just the competitive nature in every last one of us. You leave a team, you want to prove to that team that for whatever reason, that you should still be there. That’s everybody.
Smart added, “I don’t know why we’re surprised by it. Kelly (Olynyk) kicked our ass!”