Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
After two years of being wildly inconsistent from beyond the arc, Olynyk has found a groove. Since the start of December, he is 44 for 89 from the 3-point line (49.4 percent), second in the NBA in that span behind J.J. Redick of the Clippers (51 percent).
“I’ve been working a lot in practice, just dialing in my stroke,” Olynyk said. “I’ve been practicing at full speed because that’s where my opportunities are coming right now, behind that arc, stretching the defense.”
The Celtics are a more dangerous team when Olynyk can stretch the floor with his 3-point stroke. It also allows the 7-footer to take defenders off the dribble, an emerging element of his game.
“Like I’ve said over this past little stretch, whenever we’re making threes, whoever is making them, it opens up a lot of stuff [for our big men] to roll down the lane,” Olynyk said. “[It allows] Isaiah[Thomas] and [Evan Turner] to get into the game and slash and drive. Guys aren’t going to help as much, and when they do, you’ve got to make them pay.”
Olynyk, a 43.9 percent 3-point shooter this season after hitting at a 34.9 percent clip his first two seasons, said this is the best stretch of his career.
Just remarkable shooting numbers by the Celtics big man. Number that are, quite frankly, unsustainable. But we’ll all be thrilled if KO can maintain 40% from long distance.
The problem with Olynyk remains consistency. There are some nights he literally disappears on the bench, although those instances are decreasing. KO’s reached double figures in 7 of the last 8 games. That’s his best stretch of the season.
Last month John proclaimed Kelly Olynyk ‘borderline untouchable’ and made the case for more minutes. By god, he was right.
FWIW – the Celtics 3 game winning streak has propelled them into the 5th spot in the Eastern Conference (yet just one game separates 5 from 8). Chris Forsberg points to some fancy stats:
Over the past three games, the Celtics own a defensive rating of 89.5. That’s best in the league during that span, and by almost two full points. What’s more, Boston’s offensive rating in those three games is a robust 108.1, giving Boston a net rating of plus-18.6 points per 100 possessions.
One other (old school) stat: Boston’s 104 ppg is the highest average in the EC.
On Page 2, Stevens likes IT’s combo of swagger and humility.
It’s Thomas sixth straight 20-plus point game and 13th over his last 16 games, so it’s not like he’s only motivated to go up against other top guards in the league. But it certainly doesn’t hurt.
“I’d say that obviously you’re always excited when you’re a guy like Isaiah who’s got a chip on his shoulder to challenge himself against the best,” Brad Stevens told reporters. “But I think Isaiah is pretty consistent with regardless of who we’re playing and how he approaches every night. That’s what makes him good. You can’t average or do what he’s doing on a nightly basis if you don’t have the humility to show every single night. So he’s got a nice swagger about him but he also respects the game and respects everybody. But certainly he’s excited to play against guys like John Wall.”
I can’t imagine this team without Isaiah Thomas. Who the hell would score?
I remain hopeful IT will be named an All-Star reserve. An announcement should come in the next few days.
And finally, LeBron is the most hated man in Israel.
According to a report of Jerusalem by Agence France-Presse, Israeli sports journalist Sharon Davidovitch said “LeBron James is now the most hated person in Israel.
“It’s a little bit joking and a little bit true: These days I can only compare the Israeli hate for LeBron James to the hate for Hamas,” Davidovitch told AFP.
Hamas is an Islamic Palestinian organization which: A.) Seeks the total destruction of Israel; B.) Fires mortars into Israel from Gaza; C.) Is a recognized terrorist organization by the United States.
And James is on par with them because he wasn’t always nice to Blatt, the former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach?
It’s absurd to mention LeBron in the same paragraph as Hamas, but let’s be real – he is a snake.
The rest of the links