Heat’s Kelly Olynyk weighs in on bizarre ending to Game 1 of Finals

Miami’s Kelly Olynyk reacts during at game against Boston this past season. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Miami Heat big man Kelly Olynyk is half a world away, in India, and did not have a chance to watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

But Olynyk, who is at the NBA Academy India in the National Capital Territory of Delhi to serve as coaches for Basketball Without Borders Asia, knows how one of the more bizarre Finals games ended Thursday with controversial plays at the end of regulation and overtime of the Warriors’ 124-114 victory over the Cavaliers.

Olynyk, talking with Heat writers on a conference call, was asked about Cleveland’s JR Smith forgetting the score at the end of regulation and dribbling out the clock with the game tied and the Cavs’ Tristian Thompson taking offense to Golden State’s Shaun Livingston taking a shot in the final seconds of overtime instead of holding onto the ball and being called for a shot-clock violation.

Olynyk, a five-year veteran who spent his first four seasons in Boston, said it’s not that unusual for somebody to lose track of the score.

“I feel like I’ve forgotten the score before,” he said. “You’re down one and you think you’re up one. Then you realize it and it’s too late. That happens all the time. It’s human. Everybody is a human.”

But Smith happened to do it at the most crucial time on the biggest stage after rebounding teammate George Hill’s missed free throw with less than five seconds remaining with the score tied at 107, and dribbling to halfcourt before realizing the situation.

Smith tried to say he knew the score and was looking for an opening for a shot. But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said that Smith thought the Cavaliers were leading.

Olynyk said the only thing a team can do is move on and get ready for overtime, something the Cavaliers did not do very well being outscored by 10 points.

“It’s in the past,” Olynyk said. “You’ve got to strap up and play overtime. There’s not much else you can do. You have five more minutes to win a basketball game.”

As for the final seconds of overtime and Thompson being called for a Flagrant 2 foul and being ejected, Olynyk said it does not matter to him if a team tries to score late in a game that is decided. He referenced the Heat’s Game 2 playoff win over Philadelphia when some of the  Sixers were not happy that Heat guard Goran Dragic dribbled down the court for an uncontested layup with 1.2 seconds remaining in Miami’s 113-103 victory.

“Obviously it depends on where you’re playing and what you’re playing for,” Olynyk said. “If you’re playing in FIBA, points for and against count. So you have to do that. That’s been Goran’s approach his whole life. That’s part of basketball in the international game. Points for and against, sometimes tiebreakers come down to that.

“In the NBA it’s a little different. It’s kind of like a sportsmanship thing. It’s something you do that you run out the clock. I don’t really think it makes a difference personally. Whether you lose by 17 or 20 or whether you win by eight or win by nine or whether you have 12 turnovers or 13 turnovers. It’s not affecting the outcome of the game. It doesn’t really matter to me. It doesn’t really make a difference to me. It doesn’t make a difference in the outcome of the game, win and loss record. If a guy wants two more points we’ll give it to him and move onto Game (2).”

The Warriors said it’s their philosophy never to take a turnover.

“It’s habit,” Olynyk said. “They don’t want any habit that leads to a turnover. I guess that’s whatever. … their prerogative.”

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