From The Other Side: Wizards vs. Heat – Another Kelly Olynyk Dagger | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

From The Other Side: Wizards vs. Heat – Another Kelly Olynyk Dagger

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Updated: October 19, 2018

Truth About It is a blog that primarily focuses on all things Washington Wizards. We have media credentials and that access allows for up-close coverage of games, practices, and other activities, irreverent and otherwise. But occasionally we use that access to explore what’s going on with the opposing team. We call this segment, “From The Other Side,” and in today’s installment, @rashad20 focuses on the play Kelly Olynyk made to spoil Washington’s home opener.

After Miami’s 113-112 win over the Washington Wizards, Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra compared the Wizards’ opening night energy to a playoff atmosphere:

“These home opening nights, there are great for your team because they’re probably some of the closest games–in terms of focus and intensity–you’ll get to the playoffs in the regular season because everyone’s all hyped up your first game playing in front of your fans. So it was good to see us respond in the right way.”

If that is indeed the case, it is fitting that Kelly Olynyk, who slayed the Wizards as a member of the Boston Celtics in the 2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals, once again played the villain in Miami’s game-winning final play. But that wasn’t initially the plan.

Josh Richardson, who was the Heat’s leading scorer with 28 points, was supposed to get the winning shot. With 6.6 seconds remaining and Miami trailing 112-111, the play called for Dwyane Wade to dribble towards Richardson, who would take the hand-off and create the best shot he could. But Wade quickly assessed the situation and decided to go in a different direction.

“Yeah, I shot it. We had six seconds left, so I wanted to get to it quick to give us an opportunity to get up on the boards,” Wade said after the game. “I didn’t want to shot fake or anything and leave it in the refs hands, I wanted to shoot it to give ourselves a chance.”

Up to that point, Wade had shot just 4-for-10 from the field, so the miss on his 11th shot was not completely unexpected. But what happened next was a bit of a cruel surprise–especially to the Wizards.

Olynyk, who was subject to loud boos the entire night because of his aforementioned Game 7 performance at the Wizards expense in 2017, was subbed into the game for Hassan Whiteside with 6.6 seconds left after a Miami timeout. He anticipated that Wade was going to miss and acted accordingly. He dove to the rim, grabbed the rebound, laid it up in traffic, and gave the Heat a 113-112 lead with 0.2 seconds left.

The Wizards tried for a miracle, but John Wall’s inbounds pass was deflected by Richardson to end the game.

After the game, Olynyk described what his mindset was coming out of that timeout:

“I was looking for space and to cut and when you see him [Dwyane Wade] go into shot motion, you have to go to the glass. The ball came off in a great spot and I was able to lay it in quickly before the time ran out . . . as a rebounder you gotta assume a miss but yeah I thought he was going to make it for sure.”

Olynyk, who finished with nine points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of play, certainly deserves credit for his quick reaction time after Wade’s miss. But also contributing to his unencumbered run to the basket was Markieff Morris’s failure to block out or provide any type of resistance to Olynyk. When asked if he was surprised how open of a lane he had to the basket Olynyk seemed a bit incredulous.

“Yeah. I was surprised I was that open. It kinda just popped open and I was kinda just standing right there.”

For the Wizards, this loss sucked every bit of the festive opening night air out of the Capital One Arena, and it left them wondering what went wrong. But for the Heat–a team that was missing four major contributors (Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, Wayne Ellington and James Johnson) and had lost a game to Orlando in the final seconds the night before–this was a huge confidence boost. That was not at all lost on Coach Spoelstra:

“It was a game that didn’t have a tremendous amount of flow at points during it because of the free throws but you got to find a way. We love this kind of opportunities during the course of an NBA season. Back-to-back on the road, opening up your season like this. Coming off of a tough loss last night. Guys didn’t make any excuses for it. We had to gut this out all the way to the last point too. It was a very tough-minded win with a lot of contributions from a lot of guys in that lineup.”

Before the media scrum left Olynyk’s locker, he was asked if he felt any degree of satisfaction for once again raining on the Wizards collective parade. Olynyk thought about it, and then said with a slight smirk, “I mean it was game one for them, game two for us, so it may not mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, but maybe we’ll see them later down the line.”

 

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.