Kelly Olynyk couldn’t see Kelly Oubre Jr. coming at him.
Referee Monty McCutchen was standing in front of him, blocking his view as Oubre rose from the floor and bull-rushed him. Olynyk wasn’t on the lookout, either, because it hadn’t occurred to him that a hard-set pick would be reason enough for Oubre to take a run at him.
“I set a screen,” was all Olynyk could say to explain what had happened.
Welcome to Celtics-Wizards, where a screen is reason enough for a brawl, like the one that broke out after Oubre momentarily lost his mind Wednesday evening. Oubre was thrown out of the game which, by the time the Wizards finished off their 116-89 win, saw two more players ejected and eight technical fouls issued.
Olynyk said he knows this series, which the Celtics lead 2-1, has been physical, but he didn’t think Oubre’s was a proportional response.
“I was just setting solid screens,” Olynyk said. “He was trying to run through them. I was just setting solid screens.”
Some of Olynyk’s teammates found it odd, maybe even a bit funny, that their gangly Canadian compatriot was the one in the middle of the action.
Al Horford was more pointed when asked why the two Kellys had gotten into it.
“There’s no such thing as the ‘two Kellys’,” Horford said. Kelly Olynyk stayed back. Oubre just came at him.”
If Olynyk has an opinion on whether or not Oubre deserves to be suspended, he didn’t share it. He said that there are other people who will make those decisions.
The Wizards and Celtics have beef and, as the series goes longer, it is becoming harder to keep emotions in check at the same time as it is becoming more critical to keep players in games.
That was the message Oubre’s teammates gave him after the game.
“He’s an X-factor,” John Wall said. “Like we told him, we understand you get frustrated. There’s plenty of times throughout games I want to do stuff, but I know how much I mean to the team.”
Beal said he reminded Oubre that getting overly emotional can play into an opponent’s hand.
“I was encouraging him,” Beal said. “In a situation like that, you’ve got to be smart. You got the call. As much as it may frustrate, you just continue to do what you’re doing. At that point, that’s what they wanted it to be. They wanted it to be physical, get out of hand a little bit.”
Some of the Celtics had similar words with Terry Rozier. Rozier and Washington’s Brandon Jennings were the other two players ejected during the game, when both picked up their second technicals early in the fourth quarter.
Jennings and Rozier already tangled in Game 1, when Jennings ran cross-court to step on Rozier’s shoe, which had fallen off, to prevent him from putting it back on.
“Tell him, like Game 1 where he had that shoe incident with him, [Jennings is] going to do stuff like that to get under his skin and [Rozier’s] just got to do a better job of holding his composure,” Jae Crowder said. “He knows it. Just hopefully we can move on from it. That’s just what Brandon does and we’ve got to have a more level head on our side.”
With no other recourse, the referees held their whistles tight. Both coaches got technicals, as did Jonas Jerebko and Ian Mahinmi. A total of 52 personal fouls were assessed. It’s no secret that the slights and bumps are building up, as is the trash talk.
“We don’t like them and they don’t like us,” Thomas said.
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