BOSTON — This was the moment that captured the essence of Monday night’s game at TD Garden.

With 3:26 left in what would end as a 115-105 Game 7 victory over the Washington Wizards, Isaiah Thomas found Kelly Olynyk open outside the 3-point arc. Olynyk straightened for his shot. Swish. Suddenly facing a 10-point deficit, Wizards Coach Scott Brooks rushed to call a timeout.

The 7-footer with the man bun, the guy who Draymond Green insists is a dirty player, certainly had done the Wizards dirty in the decisive game of this intense series. TD Garden reverberated with chants of “Kelly! Kelly!” And, yes, here was that moment.

Olynyk walked into the arms of Thomas, all 5-9 of him, for a huge hug. It looked like a dad hugging his fifth-grade son. The place went nuts.

“It was unbelievable,” Thomas said. “You dream of winning Game 7s, playing in the Garden. The fans were amazing. Kelly was MVP tonight. He did it all. He made 3-pointers. He took it to the hole. He played really tough.”

The Celtics’ bench had scored only five points in the Game 6 loss at Washington.

The bench obviously needed to do more. In scoring the most points by an NBA reserve in a Game 7 since Leandro Barbosa had 26 for the Suns in 2006, Olynyk turned into an instant folk hero in Boston.

Game 7? Olynyk? 26 points on 10 of 14 shooting? Including 14 points in the fourth quarter? Call it the Power of the Man Bun.

“Kelly had a great game,” Brooks said. “He made a lot of shots.”

“We needed it,” Olynyk said. “We needed to help the starters, help Isaiah. With all the attention he was drawing, he was getting rid of it and putting us in great positions to make plays.”

In the end, maybe this Monday night in May, this seventh game of the Eastern Conference semifinals, will be remembered as little more than a prelude to getting blown out by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Yet to ignore this night, to ignore the quality depth that a guy like Olynyk provided, to ignore what Thomas did to push his team into the NBA final four is to ignore the steppingstones needed to return to glory.

For a handful of years now, Celtics fans keep asking where is that transcendent player? Where is the guy who makes the difference between good and great? It turns out he already is here.

“I don’t believe in pressure,” Thomas said before the game. “I work too hard to be scared of any type of pressure.”

Thomas again was double- and triple-teamed. Still he got his 29 points and, although neither Coach Brad Stevens nor Thomas would elaborate, they confirmed Thomas is dealing with more physical problems. His whole body is hurting. That’s what Thomas said.

Olynyk is a fairly laid-back Canadian. He doesn’t ordinarily show a lot of emotion. He was excited on this night. To say TD Garden was loud, doesn’t do it justice. Stevens called it ridiculous, that there’s no place like the Garden in the playoffs.

And, yes, Olynuk heard the fans chanting his name.