WALTHAM, Mass. — Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas stood up for teammate Kelly Olynyk on Tuesday, saying it was a “joke” that Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green suggested the Celtics’ center is a dirty player.
“I don’t know how he can call anybody dirty,” Thomas said. “It is what it is. Everybody’s got a comment or something to say. That’s all it is.”
Added Thomas: “It’s a joke that [Green] said that. The playoffs, everything somebody says is blown out of proportion. Everything somebody does is blown out of proportion as well. We can’t worry about what others are saying or doing.”
Olynyk’s play has been under the microscope since Game 3 when Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre charged at Olynyk after being floored by an illegal screen. Oubre was assessed a flagrant foul 2, ejected, and suspended for Game 4. The NBA acknowledged that Olynyk’s infraction was nothing more than a common foul.
Olynyk’s reputation as a “dirty” player stems more from the 2015 playoffs when Kevin Love separated his shoulder as the two chased a rebound and Olynyk held his arm in the first round of the postseason.
Olynyk tried to steer the conversation to Wednesday’s Game 5 after Tuesday’s practice but reaffirmed that he does not consider himself a dirty player.
“I mean, I know who I am. My teammates know who I am,” said Olynyk. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion but right now we’ve got a big game tomorrow against a good team. That’s what we’re focused on.”
Asked if he considers Olynyk dirty, Thomas sarcastically started, “Kelly’s one of the dirtiest players I know.”
Turning serious, he added, “No, he’s nowhere near dirty. A couple of occasions, wrong time, wrong place. Things happen in basketball, especially physical playoff basketball. He’s definitely not dirty.”
Celtics guard Avery Bradley also disagreed with Green’s assessment.
“I think Kelly is far from a dirty guy,” Bradley said. “I’m pretty sure some guys might have their opinion on Draymond with some of the plays that he’s made in the past. But I don’t care. Everybody’s going to say whatever they want. We’re just focused on winning the game tomorrow. That’s the most important thing for us as a team.”