Olynyk was the hero of Game 7 against Washington Monday night, and two nights later he got a quick call off the bench in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Cleveland. Even in the first quarter things were getting ugly for Boston, and Olynyk was brought in to hit shots and try to turn the tide.
Instead, defensively he got switched onto LeBron on a couple pick-and-rolls, and it wasn’t pretty.
Olynyk doesn’t have near the foot speed to stand a chance in that matchup. Olynyk’s man Tristan Thompson would come out to set the pick and force the switch, then LeBron would step back in isolation — the first time turning his back on Olynyk is a move that was almost disrespectful (see above). Then LeBron would get up a head of steam and drive right at Olynyk —and there was nothing Olynyk could do, he can’t cover LeBron. (There may be only one player in the league who can, and he is getting ankle treatments in San Antonio right now.)
LeBron only turned his back once, but when Cleveland finds something that works they go back to that well.
It was a rough night for Boston and Olynyk. Boston made the choice to stay home on Cleveland’s three-point shooters, so LeBron and the Cavs went right at the Celtics and scored inside. James finished the night with 38 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. Every adjustment from Boston feels like it will just open up another aspect of Cleveland’s game. Olynyk will likely be better in Game 2 — he had two points on six shots in Game 1, it couldn’t get much worse — but in Boston the question is will that, or anything they do, be enough?