Kevin Love was not in a celebratory mood after the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Celtics out of the postseason on Sunday afternoon. Following the game, Love made it clear that he blamed Boston’s Kelly Olynyk for a dislocated left shoulder he suffered in the game.
“I thought it was a bush league play,” Love said of Olynyk’s foul. “I mean I was out there and Olynyk was in a compromising position and had no chance to get the ball. It’s just too bad he would go to those lengths to take someone out of a game and do it to someone. I have no doubt in my mind he did it on purpose.”
Love suffered the shoulder injury midway through the first quarter after getting tangled up with Olynyk as both players attempted to rebound a loose ball. Olynyk was whistled for a foul on the play, but Love was forced to miss the remainder of the contest with the injury.
Love later added: “That’s not a basketball play. I expect it to be physical, but when it has to go to that length, it’s just not the way it’s supposed to be. That’s not how you play basketball. The league will take a look at it and it better be swift and just.”
LeBron James agreed with Love’s assessment of the scuffle.
“I’ve seen the replay and it didn’t look like a basketball play,” James told reporters. “I’ve seen a lot of tie-ups in my day and that tie-up was a little different. We want to play the game of basketball the right way. You want to be physical but you never want the game to get out of hand where you have injuries. We had two of them tonight and you don’t wish that on nobody.”
Olynyk did not speak with reporters following the contest but his teammates and head coach were quick to come to his defense for the foul. No one in the Celtics’ locker room who spoke after the game believed Olynyk was attempting to injury Love with the foul.
“Kelly had his arm. I did not see it live. I thought it was two guys locking each other. But I thought the foul call was correct on Kelly. I can’t imagine there was any negative intent on Kelly; that’s not the type of person he is. And I hope Kevin’s okay to play, whenever they play next,” Stevens said.
Evan Turner spoke about how much Olynyk struggles with rebounding on the whole all season, and how it likely affected the big man’s tactics in the tussle.
“Literally, if you ask anyone in our locker room, Kelly can’t box out to save his life,” Turner explained candidly. “No joke. He boxes out teammates out like that all the time in practice. Obviously, he gets away with it in practice so he thinks it’s legal in the game. If you go the whole season and watch Kelly’s box outs…after there is an emphasis on trying to box people out and things like that, he’s just trying to clear a physical force like that.
“At the same time, of all people, Kelly looks up to a player like Kevin, because they are two guys that are similar….Kelly doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. When you saw the play, it looked bad, but Kelly’s not that type of dude.”