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Last night, Kelly Olynyk gave the Golden State Warriors fits, and maybe Danny Ainge, too.


Kelly's outstanding performance - more than the box score would let on - was one of the best of his career. It wasn't just the stat line (nothing to sneeze at, by the way, with 17 points on seven of nine shooting, five boards, five assists and three steals), but how poised and aggressive his game was, maybe more so than any other outing in his young career. Sure, he's had bigger nights - including a 28-point explosion against the Warriors in 2015 - but you would be hard-pressed to find another instance where he was so locked in. Even that two-seasons-old outburst, two shy of his career high of 30 (which came against peak Process-era Philadelphia 76ers in 2014), had nothing in terms of sheer efficiency going for it; the 2015 Warriors tilt did have 13 more points going for it, but he "only" shot 11 of 21 that night, and was much less active on the defensive end of the court.


Don't think the Warriors didn't notice, and we can be sure Danny did, too. Games like this are going to make Olynyk a real quandry come summer, when Ainge will likely have to renounce his contract to sign a max-deal free agent. Still, this is a hell of a problem to have - even if Kelly manages to disappear often enough to take some of the pressure off from time to time. Is this a sign of a healthy Olynyk, fully locked-in and ready to compete? Or is this just a random explosion, enough to earn the man some respect from other team's game planning for a few weeks before he falls off scouting reports?


Only time will tell, but the idea of an aggressive, effective Kelly making noise as we close in on the first seed in the Eastern Conference ought to make the teams trying to steal away the second seed nervous, and for good reason. Repeat performances - even at 75% of what we saw last night - would be the missing piece of sorts that has plagued the club as it has faced off against similar or lesser talent, only to be stymied when Al Horford has a bad night - or [insert Celtics starter here] gets hit with a nagging injury lasting several weeks.


It's too early to get excited over this smallest of sample sizes, but it's totally OK to daydream and hope for not only more of what we saw last night, but also for making hard decisions harder come summer. Death to pump fakes and "pass-first" Olynyk. Viva the newfound, cold-blooded sixth man of the...night - Killer Kelly.



For more stories about Kelly Olynyk on CelticsLife, click here. For more by Justin, click here.




Photo via Danny Chau/Twitter
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 3/09/2017 01:28:00 PM Edit
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