Grant Williams averaged 11.3 minutes per game in Boston’s first 10 playoff battles, along the way hitting a surprising 8-of-12 from three and playing solid defense. He was a nice bench piece for the Celtics, especially with Gordon Hayward out with injury.
Tonight, in Game 7, Brad Stevens elected to leave Williams on the bench in the first three quarters. But when Boston center Daniel Theis picked up his fifth foul and Toronto went small, Williams entered the game with 7:13 to play and Boston up six.
The list of Tennessee players in the regular rotation making it to the second round since Allan Houston is small already: two appearances for C.J. Watson, Josh Richardson’s rookie year, Tobias Harris last year, and Grant this season. It’s one thing to play, especially as a rookie. It’s another to get crunch time minutes in Game 7.
Toronto went right at him, to no surprise, but Williams largely held his own, coming up with a big steal and an offensive rebound. When Theis returned with 1:32 to play and the Celtics up four, he lasted 11 seconds before picking up his sixth foul. So Williams returned for the final stretch.
He drew the sixth foul on Kyle Lowry with 35.7 to play and Boston up two.
He missed both free throws, which made me think fondly of his performance at Vanderbilt.
But then, with Boston up three with 12 seconds to play and Toronto looking for one more big shot in a series full of them…
Grant Williams vs Ryan Cline in the Sweet 16:
Grant Williams vs Fred VanVleet in Game 7:
Nice shoes, by the way.
Vols playing regular minutes in the conference finals since Allan Houston: C.J. Watson, Grant Williams.