Kelly Olynyk of the Miami Heat spoke to media on Monday during an NBA Finals practise day conference call.
KTW’s Marty Hastings was able to squeak in two questions to the Kamloops-raised hoopster:
KTW: I was at a Thanksgiving dinner party last night. Your buddy, Scott Pineo, was there. He’s living and dying with every single one of your shots and there are a lot of people like that right now in Kamloops. Do you understand the sway and power you have right now in households across Kamloops?
KO: Maybe not as much as I thought. When I go back to Kamloops, it’s wonderful. I love that place, that town. That town really raised me. Guys like Scott and all my friends and family back there and everybody else, running my camp back there. It’s been an unbelievable support system for me and I’m glad I can bring them along with me on this journey to the finals and, hopefully, they keep watching, stick with us and we can do something great.
KTW: One follow-up. I’ve been texting back and forth with your high school coach, Del Komarniski. How do you think he’d assess your play in the series?
KO: I’ve talked to him a few times in the last week, as well. He’s always been in my corner. He’s been a huge influence on me as a player, helping me get to where I am, helping me get to Gonzaga first and then to the NBA and helping me whenever I go back. He’s a great basketball mind. He’s done a lot of great things for basketball in Kamloops and I’m glad to have him in my life.
The 6-foot-11 forward had 17 points, seven rebounds, two steals and one assist in 31 minutes of action in a 115-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday in Orlando in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Los Angeles leads the series 2-1.
“We had a real group contribution out there on both ends of the floor and we believe in ourselves,” Olynyk told NBA TV on Sunday in a post-game interview. “We believe in our system. We believe in our coaches. They put a great game plan in and we executed.”
Jimmy Butler paced the Heat with 40 points, while LeBron James led the Lakers with 25 points.
Olynyk, who is seeing increased minutes in the absence of injured starters Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, also played a prominent role in Game 2, racking up 24 points in 37 minutes in a 124-114 loss.
He has 41 points in his last two games combined. The only player in the last 30 years to score more points coming off of the bench in a two-game span in the NBA Finals is Jason Terry, who accomplished the feat in 2011 against James and the Heat.
“I knew that right now is the time where I have to step up and make some plays on the offensive end for us,” said Olynyk, who notched four points in 18 minutes of action on Wednesday in Game 1.
Game 4 will get underway at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.