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Celtics react to Kelly Oubre Jr.’s suspension 05.06.17 at 6:23 pm ET
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20170506_181822After the NBA handed down its one-game suspension to Kelly Oubre Jr. for his Flagrant-2 foul on Kelly Olynyk, most of the Celtics players weren’t surprised by the decision but admitted they had other things on their minds. 

Although Isaiah Thomas agrees with the league’s decision to suspend Oubre Jr. for Game 4, he says Washington’s back up forward is the least of his worries. 

“He should be suspended. If you do that, that should be automatic,” Thomas said. “We’re not really worried about him or what they’re doing. We’re worried about Celtics right now.”

With the chance of grabbing a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 series, the Celtics know how pivotal Game 4 will be on Sunday. Coach Brad Stevens replied, “no reaction” when initially asked about the suspension and said it doesn’t matter to him who’s playing for the Wizards, it’s his team that needs to play better on Sunday. 

“We’ve got to play better than we did the other day,” Stevens said. “Regardless of who’s playing.”

Stevens also gave credit to Olynyk for keeping his cool after he was shoved to the ground by Oubre Jr. and said the same about both teams that were involved in the scuffle. 

“I thought he did an unbelievable job keeping his emotions cool in that moment,” Stevens said. “I credit all the guys that were on the court, both teams, after that. I thought that could have started something a lot worse than it started because nobody saw it coming. I thought both teams kept their cool in that moment, for sure.”

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Scott Brooks doesn’t blame Kelly Oubre for getting ejected in Game 3 at 11:32 am ET
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20170506_110914Head coach Scott Brooks didn’t agree with Kelly Oubre’s reaction to Kelly Olynyk’s hard screen, but understands why Oubre did it. 

Brooks and his Wizards expressed their frustration with the Celtics’ physicality after Game 3, and say it’s something they’ve been dealing with the entire series. After Olynyk committed a hard screen on Oubre in the first half of Game 3, Oubre got back on his feet, charged towards Olynyk and shoved him to the floor.

Oubre was ejected but that didn’t slow down the Wizards as they cruised to a 116-89 blowout win. When Brooks was asked about Oubre’s second-quarter ejection he made it clear that he doesn’t support the retaliation made by his young forward, but understood why Oubre was so frustrated.

“I think we’ve got to control our emotions. We can’t respond that way, but when you get hit in the head a few times, I mean, we’re very competitive guys out there,” Brooks said. “You keep getting hit in the head, you might respond that way and I think that’s what he did.

“I’m not saying that that was the right thing to do. We have to focus on playing basketball. We can’t control what they’re doing; we just have to control within our gameplan and stay focused. I haven’t talked to him, definitely will talk to him. We’ve got to keep our control. You’ve got to let the referees call those calls. At that particular time, they did call the right call.”

After Game 3, Wizards big man Marcin Gortat expressed his feelings on how physical the Celtics have been throughout the series and says it’s a tactic by Boston that the Wizards have to make sure they don’t fall into. Gortat echoed the same feelings his coach had about Oubre’s reaction to Olynyk’s screen — he didn’t agree with it — but says that the Celtics have been the one initiating all the tough talk, pushing and shoving.

“We can’t fall into their game; shoving and pushing and talking and trash talking, we have to stay and be who we are,” Gortat said. “We gotta play hard, we gotta hit, we gotta foul hard if we have to but we ain’t gonna have to start doing stuff that’s gonna take us out of our game. We had situations today obviously with Kelly — he lost his cool a little bit but he’s still young. He has to learn from it and we just have to play our game, play together, help each other, play for each other and that’s how we’re gonna beat them.”

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Wizards get nasty, fight back, Kelly Oubre shoves Kelly Olynyk, Celtics dominated in Game 3 loss 05.04.17 at 10:41 pm ET
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May 4, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) leaps to pass the ball as Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) defends in the first quarter in game three of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

John Wall and Kelly Olynyk were the center of attention in Washington’s blowout win in Game 3 Thursday. of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

There was no miracle comeback this time. There was no Wizards collapse.

There was only complete domination by Washington in a must-have game to make this Eastern Conference semifinal series competitive. 

John Wall had 24 points and eight assists while Otto Porter came out of the gates red-hot hitting his first seven shots and finishing with 17 points as the Wizards cruised to a 116-89 win at the Verizon Center in Washington Thursday night in Game 3. After 53 points Tuesday in Game 2 and 33 points in Game 1, Isaiah Thomas was held to 13 points and did not play the fourth quarter. 

The Wizards dominated the paint, outscoring the Celtics, 56-28, Marcin Gortat finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds. 

There was a near-brawl, pushing, shoving, trash-talking and three ejections that will set the tone for the rest of the series and undoubtedly up the ante going forward.  

In an ever-growing intense, physical battle between the two Eastern Conference rivals, Kelly Oubre took serious objection from a pair of screens set by Kelly Olynyk midway through the second quarter. Oubre got up off the court and immediately ran at Olynyk and shoved him to the court. 

That earned Oubre an immediate Flagrant 2 foul and ejection and no doubt, will merit a review from the league to determine his availability for Game 4 Sunday night in Washington. NBA director of discipline Kiki Vandeweghe was in attendance Thursday and will no doubt be busy reviewing the case in the next 24 hours. 

The Celtics have been remarkably consistent in the first quarter in this series. Remarkably bad. This time there was no coming back. The Celtics again were blown off the floor in the first quarter thanks to a 22-0 run that turned a 12-12 game into a 34-12 rout. 

Bojan Bogdanovic connected on all three 3-point attempts and John Wall and Bradley Beal attacked Isaiah Thomas in half-court and scored easy buckets in transition as the Wizards literally ran away from the Celtics for a third straight first quarter. 

The Wizards led 39-17 after the first 12 minutes. In the first three games of this series, the Wizards have outscored the Celtics 38-24, 42-29 and 39-17. 

The Oubre-Olynyk scuffle wasn’t the only confrontation in the first half. Jonas Jerebko attacked the basket on a drive and collided with big man Ian Mahinmi, seeing his first action of the series. Jerebko fell on Mahinmi and the Wizards big man took exception, getting up in Jerebko’s face. 

(For a full boxscore, click here)

Brad Stevens told ESPN after the first quarter that “we have to wake up before we have a chance to come back.” Stevens then told his team in the huddle that they weren’t going to get back in the game by “hitting home runs.” Apparently, Avery Bradley and Al Horford threw caution to the wind, hitting consecutive threes that temporarily cut Washington’s lead to 19, 55-36. But the Wizards attacked the paint on the next two possessions, driving the lead back to 23. The Wizards took a 63-40 lead to the half. 

The Celtics cut the lead to 18 to open the third quarter. But the Celtics missed their next six shots. 

Isaiah Thomas did not start the second half as Dr. Brian McKeon tended to his temporary bridge in his mouth.

The Wizards went up by 30, 85-55, on a John Wall three-point play with 4:07 to go in the third quarter. Wall set a new NBA playoff record in which he’s had 20 points and at least seven assists in 10 straight games.  

Stevens started resting his players late in the third quarter as Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Jae Crowder took a seat with the Celtics down 93-66 with a minute left in the third. 

The Celtics were again brutal on the offensive glass all night. They were careless taking care of the ball. Marcus Smart finished with eight turnovers in 21 minutes as Washington took a 95-69 lead into the fourth. 

With eight minutes left in the game, Terry Rozier and Brandon Jennings exchanged shoves, fouls and verbal insults. The initial contact drew the ire of Brad Stevens, telling the officials “that was all Jennings.” On the next play, Rozier was called for shoving Jennings to the ground and a foul was called on Rozier, causing Stevens to lose it on the sidelines in a rare moment of outrage. 

Rozier and Jennings were ejected from the game. 

The Celtics were beaten in nearly every aspect of the game Thursday night. During a timeout midway through the fourth quarter, Stevens kept reminding his team that there was something to play for, even down 19. 

“In games like this, you find out what you can take with you,” Stevens said in the huddle. “We’re taking something from this quarter to apply Sunday, regardless.”

The Celtics still lead the series, 2-1, and can take a 3-1 lead back to Boston if they capture Game 4 Sunday night in Washington. Game 5 is set for Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at TD Garden. 

Gerald Green, who returned to the starting lineup Thursday after not playing in Game 2, left a calling card for Sunday as he was leaving the court after the drubbing. 

“We’re going to beat their ass in Game 4,” Green proclaimed. 

Read More: 2017 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics, Isaiah Thomas, Kelly Olynyk
Thanks to Gerald Green, Isaiah Thomas, Celtics tie series, finally showing true colors vs. Bulls 04.23.17 at 9:10 pm ET
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Apr 23, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Boston Celtics forward Gerald Green (30) grabs a rebound against the Chicago Bulls during the first half in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Gerald Green grabs a rebound against the Chicago Bulls during the first half in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at United Center. (Mike DiNovo/USA Today Sports)

As has been the case all season, when it mattered most Sunday, Isaiah Thomas was savior for the Celtics. 

With the United Center crowd roaring after the hometown Bulls came all the way back from a 20-point hole to take their only lead, the Celtics’ NBA MVP candidate took over the game in a way only he can. 

Thomas, still mourning the death of his 22-year-old sister Chyna, scored a game-high 33 points with seven assists to lead the Celtics to a 104-95 win over the Bulls in Game 4 Sunday night in Chicago to pull Boston in a 2-2 tie as the series heads back to TD Garden for Game 5 Wednesday night. Game 6 will be next Friday back in Chicago. 

“It’s unfathomable the way he’s performed on the court,” Brad Stevens said of Thomas after the Game 4 win. 

“Isaiah Thomas is a hell of a player. An unbelievable player. A warrior with everything he’s going through,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg added. 

In his first public comments since his sister’s death, Thomas took to the podium after the game, asking that reporters not ask him about his sister’s death. 

“Not one man can guard me,” he said when asked about his best game of the series so far. 

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here, so I just feed off what the guys give me. Being here is what makes me, I guess, sane and makes me feel normal through this tough time. They’ve been everything. This organization is the best organization there is.”

The visiting team has won all four games in the series while the Celtics have taken full advantage of the Bulls without Rajon Rondo (fractured right thumb). 

Gerald Green showed exactly why Brad Stevens put him in the starting lineup. 

For the second straight game, the Celtics came out on fire. While not quite as blazing hot from beyond the arc, the Celtics still drained four triples in the opening 12 minutes as they raced out to a 30-18 lead. And for the second straight game, the Bulls looked utterly lost without Rajon Rondo, who appealed his $25,000 fine for attempting to trip Jae Crowder in the first half of Game 3 Friday night. 

The key to the first quarter was the energy Green was able to provide, getting his second straight start. He was flying all over the court, driving to the basket while hitting a 3-of-5 shots. Green finished the first half with 16 points, already a playoff career high. He finished the game with 18 points and seven rebounds. 

“He’s a guy that you have to account for. He opens up space for other people,” Stevens said of Green.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 10 first-quarter points as visitors claimed a 30-18 lead after 1. The quarter ended on a horrific missed goaltending call when Terry Rozier went up for a layup in the closing seconds. Bobby Portis blocked the ball after it had hit the glass. Brad Stevens spend the closing moments of the quarter screaming as he approached the midcourt line. The Celtics coach managed to avoid a technical foul. 

(For a full statistical recap and box, click here).

The Celtics opened the second quarter with mainly reserves and managed to build a pair of 20-point leads. With the Celtics up 41-21 following Green’s third 3-pointer, there appeared to be a bit of a turning point. Marcus Smart came down with a defensive rebound only to be stripped from behind by Isaiah Canaan, who converted a lay-up. Jimmy Butler trailed on the play and a frustrated Marcus Smart turned and lightly shoved Butler in the chest. 

A double-technical was called and the Bulls seemed a bit more energized. The Celtics built the lead to 20 again at 45-25 before going on a 15-6 spurt. Like Game 3, the Bulls closed the first half with some momentum but Jae Crowder’s three with 55 seconds left put the lead back to 55-42. 

Another key to the Celtics building a 20-point advantage was the play of the Kelly Olynyk. With Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Al Horford on the bench, it was Olynyk who provided tight defense on Dwyane Wade and drilled a wide open three on the other end as the Celtics maintained a comfortable lead. 

Avery Bradley picked up his third foul with just under six minutes left in the second quarter when it appeared Butler enhanced a swim move by Bradley in the Bulls front court.

Looking for a spark and clearly dissatisfied with Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams in their attempt to fill in for the injured Rajon Rondo, Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg turned to Canaan to start the third quarter with Wade, Butler, Robin Lopez and Nikola Mirotic. 

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In win over 76ers, Kelly Olynyk continues to lead the second unit 02.15.17 at 10:20 pm ET
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Feb 15, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard TJ McConnell (1) shots against Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) in the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

76ers guard TJ McConnell (1) shots against Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) in the second quarter at TD Garden. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Kelly Olynyk is quietly becoming one of the Celtics’ most reliable players off the bench. 

For the fifth straight game, Olynyk led the reserves in scoring. He finished with 16 points on 6-of-8 shots and 7 rebounds in the Celtics’ 116-108 win over the 76ers.  

His contributions on both ends of the floor has made him a leader for the second unit — one that’s playing without Marcus Smart — and has helped fend off opposition from grabbing big leads while the starters are resting.

Isaiah Thomas finished with a game-high 33 points. It was the 40th consecutive game that Thomas scored at least 20 points, matching the mark of John Havlicek in the 1971-72 season. Thomas also has a chance to break Larry Bird’s franchise record of 29.9 points per game for a season, set in 1987-88. After 56 games, Thomas is averaging 29.8 points, second only to Russell Westbrook’s 30.8 average. 

“When you know you’re getting 20-plus points from a guy on a given night, it’s pretty a special trait,” coach Brad Stevens said. “It’s pretty special to know that. He’s been amazing with his consistency regardless of how he feels, regardless of little nicks and bruises and everything else. He just kind of keeps going. And he’s a tough guy, he’s a tough-minded guy, and his consistency’s been impressive. And I think consistency and being able to do it every night is what separates – right? – the guys that, obviously [like] Havlicek, but the great ones.”

Smart added 21 points and Crowder chipped in 18 but it was Olynyk’s effort that not only led the bench but prevented the C’s from falling behind in the first half. He scored 10 of his 16 points in the second quarter as the Celtics and 76ers headed into halftime tied at 61.

Olynyk continued to play well in the second half by pulling down rebounds and defending the paint. He helped the Celtics keep up their offensive momentum before Thomas and the starting unit returned to close out the win in the fourth quarter. 

For a full box score and statistical round-up of Wednesday’s win over the Sixers, click here

After a slow start, including December when he averaged a woeful 6.5 points in 18.2 minutes, Olynyk has turned things around this month by making an effort on the defensive end, pulling down rebounds and finding ways to score inside the arc.

Olynyk is averaging 12.7 points in his last eight games, while shooting 56.4 percent from the floor. The biggest reason for the spike in his scoring statistics has to do with his effort in seeking high percentage shots instead of settling for 3-pointers. 

He’s only averaging three 3-point attempts a game while averaging six shots from in or around the paint. And on Wednesday night he finished a perfect 2-for-2 from deep.

Olynyk has not only been making cuts to the baskets and converting layups, he’s also averaging 7 rebounds. He’s made an effort in chasing down boards and boxing out big men — a facet of his game that has always been the biggest knock about the 7-footer, who averages a 4.7 boards for his career. 

Celtics have now won 11 of their last 12 games and will look to make it five straight when they take on the Bulls tomorrow night at Chicago in their final game before the All-Star break. 

JBL_CMYK_NoHarmanNoRBallWEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

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Kelly Olynyk silences critics with big night in win over Hawks 01.13.17 at 10:59 pm ET
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Kelly Olynyk helped the Celtics knock off the Hawks on Friday in Atlanta. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

Kelly Olynyk helped the Celtics knock off the Hawks on Friday in Atlanta. (Jason Getz/USA Today Sports)

Take that, Kelly Olynyk haters.

The Celtics forward — a lightning rod for criticism in Boston this season — stole some of the spotlight in Al Horford’s return to Atlanta on Friday night, helping the Celtics to a 103-101 win over the Hawks (click here for the game recap).

Olynyk, who often seems to play smaller than his 7-foot stature, was at his best Friday, scoring a season-high 26 points in 31 minutes. He hit 9-of-11 shots, including 4-of-5 3-pointers. He hit all four of his free throws. He grabbed eight rebounds — double his season average — and dished out three assists.

His contributions likely won’t make the highlight reel — especially after Isaiah Thomas once again took over down the stretch, culminating with a game-winning pull-up jumper with 2.4 seconds remaining — but there’s no doubting Olynyk’s value.

“Kelly had a great game,” Horford told CSNNE’s Abby Chin after the C’s survived a late Hawks surge. “He was very solid.”

This is why coach Brad Stevens continues to give minutes to the 25-year-old, who at times looks overmatched but other times does many of the little things that go overlooked. Point in case: On the final play of Friday’s win, Olynyk raced over to the corner and helped force a difficult jumper from Paul Millsap that was off the mark as time expired.

“For the most part Kelly was an effective offensive player throughout the entire night, and a really helpful defender,” Stevens said in his postgame press conference.

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Kelly Olynyk ‘playing with a lot of confidence’ off the bench 12.01.16 at 12:24 pm ET
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Kelly Olynyk drives against Andre Drummond (0) during the third quarter Wednesday at TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Kelly Olynyk drives against Andre Drummond (0) during the third quarter Wednesday at TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Don’t look now, but Kelly Olynyk has become an integral part of the Celtics offense.

Now the second-longest tenured player on the Celtics in his fourth season in the league, it appears as if the growing pains are starting to diminish by the game, with Olynyk finding ways to execute on both ends of the floor.

He furthered validated his value in the Celtics’ loss to the Pistons Wednesday night at the TD Garden. With 19 points, he was second-highest on the team in points, behind only Isaiah Thomas. In the process, he went 7-for-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from 2-point territory.

“Felt good, got some open looks and kept rolling from there,” Olynyk said following the loss.

The 25-year-old Canadian’s style of play has always been something of an enigma. Standing at 7-feet, Olynyk has always been best utilized as a perimeter player. He led the Celtics in 3-point percentage last season, but can still pose a threat in the paint. That is often lost when judging Olynyk, largely because of the unsettling feeling of a 7-footer being best served as a perimeter player, especially on a team that gets dismantled nearly every night on the glass.

With that in mind, Olynyk’s game has never been to be a massive body in the paint. From his days at Gonzaga through his time in Boston, he’s a perimeter player who can stretch the floor and sidle into the paint and make plays.

“His ability to stretch the floor is big for us and he’s doing a pretty good job of picking his spots as well on seals and different post ups,” said coach Brad Stevens. “But at the end of the day what makes him different is his ability to stretch the floor.”

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WEEI is how you listen to Celtics coverage. JBL cutting-edge wireless headphones and speakers are how you feel like you’re there. As the official Sound of the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas and the NBA, JBL is Made for the Biggest Stage.

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