The Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, which is no big deal given that the 76ers (2-22) are currently the worst team in professional sports. But the game managed to make news anyway because reserve Boston center Kelly Olynyk scored 30 points in 31 minutes. That kind of thing gets basketball people excited, when a player who’s pretty much off the radar goes for 30 points in an NBA game–even if it’s against the 76ers. Olynyk is one of those prospects that make scouts and GMs quiver: he’s a seven-footer with a good basketball pedigree (Gonzaga) and the ability to change the way opposing teams have to play. Those guys are rare. He can even go outside, stretch the floor–in Philly Olynyk went 3 for 3 from the 3-point arc.
The 30 points was a career high for Olynyk, who averages 11 per game. He and the Celtics will look to build on this performance and try to create a scenario where Olynyk can be a go-to guy. He’s capable and fun to watch. He had 19 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and a block in a tough overtime loss to Washington just a week ago. Look for the Celts to give Olynyk ample opportunity to contribute and bust out again on Wednesday in Boston against the Orlando Magic. If he goes for 30 again, there could be echoes of Linsanity.