For Olynyk, it's not how you start

For Olynyk, it's not how you start
November 12, 2013, 9:45 am
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(AP Photo)

BOSTON — On the Jumbotron overlooking the TD Garden crowd, the images of Celtics starters appeared as they were introduced prior to Boston's 120-105 win against Orlando.

Kelly Olynyk was among the Celtics to be so honored. But for him, being part of the five-man unit that finished off the game was more important.

Considering how Olynyk's game continues to get better with time, there's a good chance that he'll see plenty of Jumbotron time with the starters as well as court time with the team's closers just like he he did in Monday's win.

Olynyk, making his second straight start, had a career-high 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting along with seven rebounds and a career-high five assists.

"It's good (to start)," Olynyk told CSNNE.com prior to Monday's tip-off. "It's what you dream about, what you live for. Everyone wants to start. But more important, everyone wants to finish a game."

But to do that, a player must establish himself as a vital cog in the team's success throughout the night, something that Olynyk has been doing since he replaced Vitor Faverani in the starting lineup.

What might have been overlooked in Monday's win was how Olynyk held his own against Orlando's Nikola Vucevic, who has established himself as one of the more promising big men in the NBA this season.

Vucevic had a pretty standard night with 15 points and 10 rebounds on Monday -- comparable to Olynyk's stat line.

But what makes Olynyk so special is the versatility he brings to the floor for the Celtics offensively.

Having played point guard in high school until a seven-inch growth spurt as a high school junior, Olynyk has the court savvy of a point guard trapped in a 7-foot body. And defensively, he's starting to get a better handle on how to handle the physical, banging style of NBA basketball, too.

Bringing those two worlds together has been a major plus for both Olynyk and the Celtics thus far this season.

"He really knows how to play," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "He can pass. He's a threat to shoot it more than he's made shots. That's why I'm not worried about him making shots. I always subscribe to the law of averages, so he's got a lot of makes coming."

Monday was a step in that direction. But Olynyk is more consumed by doing whatever he can do to help the Celtics continue along their winning ways.

"That's what we all play the game for, to win," Olynyk said. "Whatever I have to do to help us do that, scoring, rebounding, defense, whatever . . . that's what I want."