Brad Stevens Praises Former Celtics Kelly Olynyk, Jae Crowder Before Game 1

Olynyk and Crowder have been thriving with the Miami Heat

by Alexandra Francisco

Sep 15, 2020

A number of former Boston Celtics remain in the NBA Playoffs as the field has been narrowed down to six teams.

There’s Rajon Rondo now playing with the Los Angeles Lakers, and of course, Doc Rivers is coaching Marcus Morris on the Los Angeles Clippers.

And now that the Celtics have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, they’ll be reacquainted with Kelly Olynyk and Jae Crowder, who have been thriving with the Miami Heat.

Ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1, Boston coach Brad Stevens spoke from first-hand experience to what his two former players bring to the table for Miami.

“Confidence wise, he’s just playing so confidently,” Stevens said of Olynyk, via Celtics reporter Marc D’Amico.

It wasn’t long ago in 2017 that Olynyk had a legendary Game 7 performance against the Wizards to get Boston into the conference finals. The back-up center dropped 26 points in just 28 minutes off the bench, including 14 fourth-quarter points.

That legendary game got him paid in free agency, as he signed a four-year, $50 million contract with Miami after the 2017 season.

“He’s always been able to shoot it,” Stevens said. “He’s always been able to almost catch it like a guard and shoot, run off screens, or slip to catch it on the move and shoot. He’s always had all the tricks with his shot fakes and the long steps.

“He’s creative with how he can maximize his strides and his steps in getting a guy off-balance and finishing around him. And he’s always been a very solid positional defender. With great experience, with his work ethic, a great situation that he’s in, he takes advantage of his skill set.”

Crowder, meanwhile, has made a few stops after being dealt from Boston to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of the Kyrie Irving trade. He also played for the Utah Jazz and Memphis Grizzlies before landing in Miami, where he’s shooting 42.1 percent from the field and emerging into the player Celtics fans hoped he’d be in Boston.

“I’m really happy for (Olynyk) and Jae,” Stevens said. “I think they’re both great competitors and great people. They impact winning, and it’s not a surprise that they’re doing it again.”

We’ll see how the duo fare in Game 1 with the Heat against the Celtics. Tip off is slated for 6:30 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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