Wakeup Call: Whoa! Trouble in paradise!

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Wakeup Call: Whoa! Trouble in paradise!

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, February 8.

AUTO RACING
They don't induct bats into the Baseball Hall of Fame, or helmets into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But in NASCAR, cars get in. (AP)

BASEBALL
Is anyone really surprised that King Felix is staying in Seattle? (AP)

Please don't rush to judgment? In our society? Michael, you must be kidding. (AP)

Old friends Mike Aviles and Kelly Shoppach have new contracts. (AP)

What's that old saying, that if you can hit a curveball you can get away with murder in baseball? Well, with the Giants, you can get away with being accused of murder. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Indiana's reign as the nation's No. 1 team probably won't last long, not after the Hoosiers' last-second loss at Illinois. (AP)

Duke gets its revenge on slumping North Carolina State. (AP)

Yeah, I never heard of Nate Wolters, either. But the South Dakota State guard scored 53 points, most for a Division I player this season, in an 80-74 victory over IPFW. (AP)

Missouri's not going to stay in the Top 25 much longer if it can't figure out how to win on the road. (AP)

Florida's sixth man, Will Yaguete, is lost for at least the rest of the regular season after undergoing knee surgery. (AP)

Notre Dame spills the beans: It looks the Big East is going to stay together for at least one more year. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
According to her lawyers, poor Andrea McDonald is "exploring her options" during this "difficult time." And what's the "difficult time"? Her son wants to go to Arkansas instead of Miami. So, what, she's going to sue him? (NBC's College Football Talk)

That anonymous letter sent out by "UNM Senior Football Players" claiming New Mexico coach Bob Davie discriminates against players based on race is "unfounded and untrue" according to the university, which says it investigated the charges. (AP)

He broke some of RGIII's records at Baylor and was second only to Johnny Football in total yards per game, but Nick Florence is saying no to the NFL and will focus on getting his master's degree instead. (AP)

Nebraska and Colorado will resume their rivalry, beginning in 2018. (AP)

Well, it helps when your stadium seats 109,901. (AP)

GOLF
As long as they keep scheduling it during the week of school vacation, Phil Mickelson's going to keep skipping the Match Play Championship. (AP)

HOCKEY
Whaddya know? Phil Kessel finally scored! (AP)

These are your new fans, Tim Thomas. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

I mean, you didn't see Ranger fans cheering when this guy took one in the face, did you? (Pro Hockey Talk)

Can anyone stop the Blackhawks? (CSN Chicago)

Adam Oates' Wednesday contention that the Capitals were heading in the right direction looks kind of silly now, doesn't it? (CSN Washington)

Their hard-fought loss to the Bruins apparently took something out of them, because the Canadiens couldn't hold a two-goal, third-period lead and lost in a shootout to the stumbling Sabres. (AP)

Methinks though dost protest too much, Barry. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Ken Hitchcock reminds the Blues that there's no 'i' in team. (Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
Mike Krzyewski may return as U.S. coach in 2016, after all. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Ooh. Trouble in paradise! (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Real trouble! (Pro Basketball Talk)

Since Tom Thibodeau took over as coach, the Bulls have rarely gotten blown out. Last night, though, was different. (CSN Chicago)

Kevin Love apparently has decided on the glass-is-half-full outlook. (AP)

Let's hope Lou Williams can do the same. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Deer antlers?? Why, in Tony Casillas' day, they used DSMO! (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

2,097 yards rushing with a sports hernia. If the phrases "deer antlers" and "DSMO" -- and other things -- leap to mind, I get it. (AP)

Gregg Williams is full of apologies and mea culpas as he gratefully accepts his reinstatement and takes a job with the Titans. (AP)

The Ravens are enjoying the present but -- unlike the last time they won the Super Bowl -- still looking to the future. (AP)

Too bad. Would have been fun to see an assistant coach dance his way onto the field before a game. (CSN Baltimore)

So the good folks of Baltimore will have to get their weekly Ray Lewis fix from a statue of him that's being planned. (Pro Football Talk)

We got a sneak preview of that statue on the field during the Super Bowl. (CSN Bay Area)

Jim Harbaugh's still crying about the non-call on the 49ers' last offensive play. (Pro Football Talk)

The Bills are going to let Donald Jones become a free agent. (AP)

The Colts may do the same with Dwight Freeney . . . but he hopes they don't. (Pro Football Talk)

And the Steelers? They may be saying goodbye to lots of their veterans. (Pro Football Talk)

Chris Mannix: 'Great chance' Celtics capture No. 1 seed

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Chris Mannix: 'Great chance' Celtics capture No. 1 seed

Chris Mannix discusses the Boston Celtics chances of sealing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and which low-seed team will give them the most problems in the playoffs.

Kelly Olynyk's 3-point game is helping him produce all over floor

Kelly Olynyk's 3-point game is helping him produce all over floor

Waltham, mass. – Kelly Olynyk is in a good place right now. 

He’s playing a key role on one of the top teams in the NBA, doing more than just stretch the floor with long-range jumpers and 3-pointers. He has been a solid positional defender most of his time in the NBA, but lately he has become one of the team’s best rebounders … really!

But more than anything, Olynyk is in the best shape of his career both mentally and physically, delivering strong play in several categories.

“When he plays aggressive and with confidence, that’s when he’s at his best,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. 

And lately, the best of Olynyk has been in steady rotation for the Celtics who will host the Phoenix Suns tonight. 

Olynyk attributes his recent strong play to seizing his opportunity to help the Celtics in what has been a season-long area of weakness. The fourth-year big man is a threat to score from 3-point range whenever he’s on the floor. Because of that, teams are overly concerned about his long-range shooting which has allowed him to be an effective driver into the paint and finisher around the rim. 

He has also benefited by being healthy, something he could not say was the case on the eve of the Celtics’ postseason run last season which ended in the second round to the Atlanta Hawks. Olynyk was hampered by a sore right shoulder injury that limited him in the playoffs against Atlanta, and later required surgery which sidelined him for the start of this season. 

But those pain-filled days where he gave more thought to his shoulder rather than shouldering a greater load for the Celtics, are behind him now. 

“It’s something that I had to deal with and I had to get surgery,” Olynyk said. “Now it feels better than it has. I feel strong, confident, ready to roll.”

Boston has won five of its last six games, and the play of Olynyk off the bench has been among the reasons for the team’s latest run of success. In those six games, Olynyk has averaged 10.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting a team-high 64.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range in 20.5 minutes per game – all better than his season average in those respective categories. 

And among Celtics players who have averaged double-digit minutes in that span, Olynyk has a team-best rebounding percentage of .170 in addition to an effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%) of .689 which is also tops among Boston players during their last six games.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens isn’t surprised to see Olynyk playing as well as he has now that he’s injury-free.

“I don’t think there’s anything more important than playing with clear minds and fresh legs,” Stevens said. “I just think that, and not being injured is a big part of that.”

For Olynyk, part of the challenge he has had since coming to the NBA was finding that balance between being aggressive and assertive, while making sure he got teammates involved when the opportunity presents itself.

“There’s definitely a fine line between being aggressive, forcing things, over-aggressive and create and open things up for others,” Olynyk said. “It’s kind of a balance, kind of like a yin and yang; just go out and play basketball the way you know how to play it. That’s what’s going to make you the best version of yourself and your team the best version they can be.”

Olynyk’s teammates encourage him often (Avery Bradley and Thomas are probably the two most consistent in his ear) to be more assertive, but they recognize he tends to be hesitant far too often for a player with his skillset.

“When he’s second-guessing and … shot-faking when he should have shot, just not being the aggressive player that we need him to be … we don’t need him to be like that,” said Thomas. “We believe in him. He just has to remain confident at all times. When he’s confident and aggressive, he’s a hell of a player.”