Heat's Kelly Olynyk Making A Push For Spot In Playoff Rotation

Shandel Richardson

Without a doubt, the Miami Heat have missed forward Meyers Leonard during his absence.

The positive, however, has been the emergence of backup Kelly Olynyk. He had 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in Friday's 126-118 victory against the Dallas Mavericks. Olynyk has scored in double-figures three of the last four games.

"He's been putting in the time and he has been trending in a good direction the last two or three weeks and that's just what you have to do," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "You have to continue to prepare and then when your number is called, try to be productive for your team whatever the minutes are, whatever the role."

The addition of Leonard in the offseason cut into Olynyk's minutes at the start of the season. His 19.3 minutes a game are the lowest in his career. He began receiving more playing time when Leonard sustained an ankle injury against the Philadelphia 76ers Feb. 3. Leonard has missed the past 10 games, creating opportunity for Olynyk.

Before this stretch, Olynyk did not play in six of 12 games. The question now for Spoelstra is how he handles the rotation when Leonard returns. That could be early as next week.

The Heat have 23 games remaining to figure out lineups before the playoffs start.

"I started him (Olynyk) that one game and mostly bringing him off the bench [now] but based on matchups we'll be open to anything at this point," Spoelstra said. "These are all playoff rotations right now. It was great to see him contribute in the fourth quarter and build on some of the things that he's been doing."

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