Danny Ainge came to the defense of Kelly Olynyk on Thursday after Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love accused the seven-footer of intentionally injuring him during Game 4 of the Cavs-Celtics first-round series on Sunday.
“I think that [Love’s comments were] a little bit over the top,” Ainge said Thursday. “It’s understandable in the heat of the battle. I feel bad for Kevin Love, because he’s waited a long time to get where their team is right now, and now he doesn’t get a chance to play.
“I certainly don’t think that Kelly did it on purpose. I don’t even think that that play would have been reviewed more than a foul had Kevin not gotten hurt, but because Kevin did get hurt, the league does evaluate those situations.”
Love underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder on Wednesday and will miss the remainder of the season for the Cavs. Olynyk was suspended for one game by the league after being whistled for a personal foul on the play.
While Ainge does not agree with the league’s decision, he indicated the ruling may have been a result of the unfortunate situation the Cavs face as they enter the second-round of the postseason.
“There was a lot of pressure in Cleveland. They were losing J.R. Smith in the first couple games of the next round, and they have Kevin out for the playoffs now.
“So I’m sure there was a lot of frustration in Cleveland and they wanted some justice. And they scrutinized it, and felt like Kelly gave a little too much at the very end of that arm tangling. When someone gets hurt, you’re just under a little bit more scrutiny. But I thought it was just a foul, two guys going for a loose ball.”
Olynyk will serve his suspension in the first game of the 2015-16 season.