AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Kelly Olynyk, the Celtics’ 2013 first-round draft pick, found his rhythm late Sunday, when his team was playing for its life against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
And it was then that the 7-footer out of Gonzaga showcased the biggest flashes yet of the talent and versatility that led NBA general managers to vote him as the biggest steal of the draft for where he was selected (13th overall).
With Olynyk pouring in 10 of his team-high 15 points in the second half, the Celtics were able to make a late charge to try and overtake the Pistons.
They still fell short, 87-77, as the Celtics fell to 0-3 on the regular season, but it was still Olynyk’s finest outing yet, as he made 6 of 11 shots off the bench while also grabbing eight rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
“I definitely got into a little bit of rhythm down the stretch there where I was out there for a little while, kind of in the flow on both ends of the floor, up-and-down transition, trying to do a bunch of different things,” he said.
Olynyk was part of a late-game lineup that included Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, and Gerald Wallace. “We saw a lot of good things out of Kelly,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Green takes a seat
Jeff Green played 9 minutes, 19 seconds in the second half, none of them coming in the fourth quarter.
The forward, tabbed to carry the Celtics’ scoring load this season, checked out of the third quarter with 2:41 left, as the Celtics were in the midst of what became a 13-1 scoring run that gave them a 65-63 lead early in the fourth quarter.
When asked about his lineup decision late in the game, Stevens said it was “just based on who I felt like was playing well at the time.”
When asked about sitting in the fourth, Green said, “That was [Coach Stevens’s] decision.”
Green finished with 7 points on 3-of-5 shooting, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 turnovers in 20 minutes.
Faverani on the rise
Luck? That’s what Vitor Faverani said after his first and only preseason start, a 101-97 win against Brooklyn on Oct. 23 when the Celtics rookie center blocked six shots.
The 25-year-old Brazilian said he had never had that many rejections but added that it was just his good fortune with regard to timing and so forth. Then, the 6-foot 11-inch Faverani blocked that many shots in the Celtics’ second regular-season game against Milwaukee, a 105-98 loss Friday at TD Garden.
“Like I said, it’s good luck,” he said before Sunday’s game against Detroit.
“No, it’s true,” he said with a smile. “Sometimes I have good luck with blocks, sometimes not. Just like making points — sometimes you have good luck with your shots and you make every shot; and sometimes you don’t have good luck and you don’t make some shots.”
Shortly after Faverani joined the Celtics this summer after playing overseas in Spain, a Western Conference scout noted Faverani’s shot-blocking skills.
But blocking shots wasn’t the main characteristic that stood out about Faverani. If anything, he was noted for his physicality and his ability to hit outside shots.
Yet it’s been his ability to protect the rim that has been not only a pleasant surprise, but a boost to an undersized Celtics’ team that has just one true center: Faverani.
Faverani said that he hasn’t always been good at blocking shots. His approach is workmanlike. “That’s just my work, my job,” he said. “It’s the big guy’s job to protect the rim and stay in the paint and grab rebounds. So, I try to do that.”
Stevens said he believes that shot-blocking, first and foremost, comes natural to some players but that players also have to be in the right position.
“And Vitor finds himself in the right position a lot,” Stevens said before the game.
Faverani scored 8 points, grabbed 2 rebounds, and blocked one shot against Detroit.
If Faverani seemed raw during training camp, he has come a long way since, including grabbing 18 rebounds in Friday’s loss to Milwaukee.
“He works as hard as anybody we have,” Stevens said. “He is in the gym first on a lot of days. He is in the gym on off-days. He has really worked. As a result, he’s really gotten better already.”
Rondo goes to work
Rajon Rondo recently received a brace for his surgically repaired right knee and before games seems to be running harder and focusing more on his lateral movement. But a timeline still remains unclear for when the All-Star point guard will return to the Celtics. “He’s still got some time,” Stevens said. “There’s no need to rush back and not be fully ready and be fully healed. I think its’ a matter of gaining strength in that leg. Stevens added, “He’s itching to play. Let’s put it that way.” . . . An X-ray taken after the game on Bradley’s left index finger came back negative. Bradley re-aggravated that finger during the game . . . Veteran guard Keith Bogans made his debut as a Celtic when he checked into the game in the second quarter. He missed his only shot attempt . . . MarShon Brooks, another guard acquired from Brooklyn in an offseason deal, also made his season debut. He missed both of his shots . . . Forward Kris Humphries didn’t play for the second straight game.