Game Preview: Magic at Celtics
His overall numbers don't stand out but Kelly Olynyk has shown flashes of brilliance for the Boston Celtics, who are hoping to see more consistency out of the second-year center.
Coming off a career-best performance, Olynyk tries to lead the Celtics to a 12th win in 13 matchups against the visiting Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
Olynyk is averaging 11.2 points to rank fourth on the Celtics (8-14), but he's scored at least 18 in eight games. The former Gonzaga star had averaged 7.5 points over a 10-game stretch before breaking out with 30 off the bench in Monday's 105-87 win at Philadelphia.
"I talked to coach (Brad Stevens) a couple of days ago, and he said, `We need you to be aggressive. You need to stay aggressive. That's when you're at your best,'" Olynyk said. "That's something I'm really focusing on and really been working on dialing in my shot and getting in a groove and it's feeling good."
The 7-foot Olynyk shot 12 of 17, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, and he's gone 23 of 56 to rank in the top 25 in 3-point percentage (41.1) overall and second at his position in made 3s.
"We need him to make shots. Our team depends on it. He's a skill guy who can stretch the floor and we need him to do that," said Stevens, whose team snapped a three-game skid. "What I want him to do is believe in himself the way we believe in him.
"I think he's really good and think he could be a really good player. You want to (go from) being a player who's very capable of doing it and does it on multiple nights to a player that does it every single night."
Olynyk could create matchup problems against Orlando, which has been limited to an average of 90.1 points in dropping 11 of 12 to the Celtics. The Magic have lost seven straight at Boston.
Orlando (10-17) has lost three of four overall after opening a two-game road swing with Monday's 95-82 loss to Toronto. The Magic took an eight-point lead into the break before scoring 30 points on 37.1 percent shooting in the second half.
"It's tough, but when teams try to be gritty and tough on us and make a run, we have to stop them," veteran guard Ben Gordon said. "We can't come in here at halftime relaxed, being happy and cracking jokes and then lay an egg. We make ourselves look bad.
"I think it's just a mental issue with us and we still have a young team. But if we want make an impact we're going to have to grow up fast and mature through these situations."
The Magic are averaging 92.3 points on the road to rank near the bottom of the league, but Boston is 28th with 105.2 allowed per game at home.
Orlando has played an NBA-high 18 road games, three more than the next-closest teams and twice as many as Boston. The Magic are 7-11 away from home after going 4-37 last season.
Celtics forward Jeff Green is averaging 26.0 points in four home games this month. The Celtics are 5-2 at home when they make at least eight 3s compared to 0-6 when they don't.