By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — When the fourth quarter rolls around at the TD Garden, it’s usually Isaiah Thomas who is serenaded with chants from the Boston crowd.
Thomas spent the last few days talking about how legends are made in Game 7, and that proved to be right. But on Monday night, despite 29 points to lead the way in Boston’s 115-105 victory over the Washington Wizards, it wasn’t the lore of IT that grew.
Instead, it was the Legend of the Man Bun, or rather, Kelly Olynyk, that owned the spotlight.
Yes, you read that right. Kelly Olynyk owned the spotlight in Boston’s biggest win of the season. The C’s seven-footer was nearly unstoppable in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 of his 26 points in the game’s final frame. He did it with long distance precision and some crafty moves underneath, finishing 10-for-14 from the floor while pulling down five rebounds and dishing out four assists.
All of this led to “Kelly! Kelly! Kelly!” chants from the Boston faithful as the Celtics marched to victory. Usually those chants toward Olynyk tend to be of the sarcastic nature, but that certainly was not the case on Monday night.
“It was unbelievable. Especially to do it in front of our fans, for the city of Boston. It was unbelievable to be in there and feel that energy, that enthusiasm and passion,” Olynyk said after his best game in a Celtics uniform. “To thrive off that, it was special to be a part of. Hopefully we can relive that.”
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Olynyk provided an “enormous” lift when Boston needed it most. Thomas agreed.
“Kelly was our MVP tonight,” Thomas said after the win. “He did it all; three pointers, taking it to the hole. He played tough and he’s a big reason we won.”
After Washington cut Boston’s lead to just 101-97 with 6:09 to play, Olynyk did most of his damage. He scored inside to push the lead back to six, and after getting a technical along with Markieff Morris, he turned an offensive rebound into two easy points for Thomas. Olynyk forced the Wizards to take a timeout, and nearly blew off the roof at the TD Garden, after draining a triple with 3:26 left to put Boston on top 110-100.
Overall, it was the 28 best minutes Kelly Olynyk has given the Celtics since Danny Ainge traded up to draft him in 2013, and shows the spark he can provide off the bench when his game is on.
It’s unclear just how much of that had to do with his hairdo. Some of Olynyk’s best games during the season came on nights where he rocked the man bun, so it should be pretty safe to say we’ll be seeing Olynyk sporting that style when the Celtics and Cavaliers begin their Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night in Boston.
But Olynyk wasn’t ready to commit to anything just yet.
“That’s a good question. Time will tell,” he said with a giant smirk.
No matter what hairstyle he goes with, hopefully Olynyk can continue to provide a big boost for the Celtics off the bench. They’ll certainly need that and more against the Cavaliers.