The Boston Celtics have been missing something on the offensive end of the floor, and in case you’ve been wondering what that something is, Kelly Olynyk showed everyone Wednesday night.
Olynyk returned to TD Garden for the first time since signing with the Miami Heat in the offseason, and the former Celtic poured in a career-high 32 points on 12 of 15 shooting, while shooting 6-for-8 from the 3-point line in a 90-89 Miami victory.
This isn’t to say that Boston should have inked Olynyk to a contract similar to the four-year, $50 million deal the Heat signed him to, but the C’s are lacking significant pop off the bench.
Take Wednesday’s second quarter for example.
Without Marcus Morris, who has missed the last six games with a knee injury, Boston opened the second frame shooting 3-for-9 from the field, which allowed the undermanned Heat to steady themselves after a rough first quarter and stay within reach of the C’s.
Boston’s second unit, which normally is spearheaded by rookie Jayson Tatum, is missing another player who can create his own shot without Morris. While Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, Semi Ojeyle and Shane Larkin are solid NBA players, their games are rooted either in defense, rebounding or the hustle area and not on the offensive end where they are reliant on their teammates to get them open looks.
The C’s bench scored just 21 points Wednesday, 15 of which came from Smart who had a hot game from beyond the arc. The second unit has struggled over the past six games, averaging just over 28 points per game, which has put extra pressure on Tatum and the other starters to pick up the slack.
Morris’ return, whenever that is, should help improve the bench unit’s play. But until then, Boston’s bench likely will continue to struggle without a player that can create his own shot. A player like the one who torched them for 32 points Wednesday night.
Here are more notes from Celtics-Heat:
— The Celtics now are 4-4 in their last eight games.
— Guerschon Yabusele got some run Wednesday, hitting two 3-pointers and busting out a hilarious celebration.
— Jordan Mickey scored eight points in his return to TD Garden on Wednesday. Those eight points are more than Mickey scored in 81 0f 82 games last year for the Celtics.
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