Olynyk puts injury-ravaged Celtics on his back

Olynyk puts injury-ravaged Celtics on his back
April 13, 2014, 1:00 am
(USA Today Sports Images)

There are no worries about minutes played or being yanked off the floor for a miscue or two defensively.

That is so not the life of an NBA rookie, even a lottery pick by Boston's Kelly Olynyk.

But when a roster gets ravaged by injuries the way the Celtics have lately, being healthy means getting a healthy amount of playing time regardless of how you perform.

However, Olynyk logging a career-high 39 minutes on Saturday was time well spent as the Celtics had no problems beating Cleveland, 111-99.

Olynyk tied his career-high scoring with 25 points. That, along with his game-high 12 rebounds, was good enough for his third double-double of the season.

"I was definitely comfortable out there," Olynyk told reporters after the game. "With me, I like to be able to have the ball in my hands, make the play, dribble every once in a while, put it on the floor."

Olynyk did all those things, and more.

He even showed a Dirk Nowitzki-like step back jumper near the end of the third quarter.

"Just something I've been working on a little bit, get the shot off, especially with these kind of athletes," Olynyk said. "Just stuff you have to work on. I had the opportunity to bring it out tonight and luckily it went in."

And that comfort level Olynyk had on Saturday was in part fueled by the knowledge that with only eight healthy bodies, there really weren't many options for head coach Brad Stevens to turn to on the bench.

Which meant the only thing he had to worry about, was just playing the game.

"It's awesome," Olynyk said. "Every player's dream; to be able to play through stuff. To make mistakes, play through it, learn, grow. Just that experience is vital to the growth of the player on the team. For me, I couldn't be happier with the opportunity that was presented tonight."

But the opportunity is only as good as what the player does with it.

"When an opportunity is presented, you have to be ready to seize it," Olynyk said. "It's nice to have an extra opportunity or an opportunity that wasn't there at the start. You have to be ready to jump on it; can't sit back and wait."

The Celtics certainly didn't on last year's draft night when they traded up with the Dallas Mavericks to select Olynyk with the 13th overall pick.

But as well as Olynyk has played of late, he is by no means content. 

"You never want to be satisfied," Olynyk said. "You always have to get better everyday. Especially when the league is this competition and at a high level. You just want to keep competing and keep getting better everyday, make sure you're progressing and can always get a little bit more (better)."