Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday that he does not think forward Kelly Olynyk intended to injure Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love during Game 4 of the teams' first-round playoff series on Sunday.
With five minutes left in the first quarter of the game, Love and Olynyk made contact while chasing down a loose ball. As Love reached for the ball with his right hand, Olynyk held onto Love's left arm.
Love suffered a shoulder dislocation and is expected to be sidelined four to six months after undergoing surgery. Love characterized the play as "bush-league" and said he had "no doubt" that Olynyk "did it on purpose."
Olynyk later said he thought it was "ridiculous" to suggest that Olynyk was trying to intentionally injure Love. On Thursday, Ainge defended Olynyk, saying, "I certainly don't think that Kelly did it on purpose."
Olynyk was suspended one game for his role in the incident.
"I don't even think that that play would have been reviewed more than a foul had Kevin not gotten hurt," Ainge said. "But because Kevin did get hurt, the league does evaluate those situations, and I understand a little bit why they did it.
"There was a lot of pressure on Cleveland. They were losing J.R. Smith in the first couple of 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 bit 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."