- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Kelly Olynyk couldn't help but admit it might have been the wrong decision.
After posting team-highs with 20 points and 8 rebounds during Saturday's satisfying summer-opening win over the Miami Heat, Olynyk again topped Boston's box score with 15 points and 6 boards, but the Celtics endured a 96-77 loss to the Indiana Pacers.
Olynyk couldn't help but wonder if his decision to switch from a ponytail to his more familiar headband had messed with what was working.
"You know what, I probably should have stuck with the ponytail," Olynyk said. "It was working. That was a bad decision. That was probably the worst decision of the day."
Now a veteran of the summer league process, Olynyk can enjoy things a bit more this time around. He played along when the topic of his hair was broached, and that spilled into a conversation about his increasingly stylish wardrobe, which on Monday featured a red tank top with enough specs of green that he suggested it should be the team's summer alternate jersey.
Turning more serious, Olynyk lamented how Boston let Monday's game get away after building an 18-point first-quarter cushion. The Pacers outscored the Celtics 65-27 in the middle frames.
"We missed some easy shots, and it escalated from there," Olynyk said. "We kind of strayed away from the first quarter, where we were moving the ball, getting easy looks, and everyone was involved. Guys were more individualized on both ends of the floor, which always hurts you as a team. [Indiana] got out on the break, we turned it over, they got some easy stuff, got to the free throw line and we couldn’t get back."
Fast start, slow response
Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga, in his second season running the summer squad, was disappointed that his team never responded the way Indiana did to Boston's initial tone-setting.
"I think Indiana really responded very, very well. They were fun to watch -- not when you’re the opponent, but they just responded and had energy, not only the five guys on the court, but the bench, you could hear them the whole game," Larranaga said. "It tells you that momentum is a big part of the game. We got off to a good start, they responded, and then we didn’t respond. That’s disappointing from our perspective.
"You never saw a response from our guys. That response has to happen at the defensive end of the court. We were late on everything all night, we fouled way too much, and it makes the game very, very difficult."
Larranaga said the team will watch film and ultimately move on quickly from the loss, but made it a point to stress the sort of mental resolve the team needs, pointing to assistant coach Walter McCarty.
"Walter McCarty had a 10-year pro career because he was talented, but more importantly because he was a pro and he showed up every single day and he knew the right way to play and that’s why he’s so beloved in Boston," Larranaga said. "I think if Walt had been on our summer league today, at age 40, he would have responded in that game, and he could have changed the tone of the game.
"That’s what our guys have to learn -- be willing to step up and it doesn't have to always be the scoring. It could be one play. Rondo had a play during this year where he dove on the ball, one of his early games at home, and it changed the momentum of the game."
Defense rests, fouls soar
The Celtics, so good defensively in Saturday's opener, were equally as bad for most of Monday's loss.
Boston got in foul trouble early in the second quarter and never really got out. Foul trouble limited starting center Colton Iverson to 12 minutes, 23 seconds of floor time, while even Olynyk got whistled six times in 31 minutes. The Celtics allowed Indiana to shoot 45 free throws in a 40-minute game.
"The focus has to be on the defense," Larranaga said. "So many defensive errors and fouls that allowed them to get to the foul line and shoot easy baskets when they were struggling."
Echoed rookie Marcus Smart: "They were just attacking. They were aggressive and they got the calls, well deserved. They came out and attacked the basket, we took a lot of jump shots. They got rewarded for it."
20hESPN Stats and Information Group
3dESPN Stats & Information