BOSTON — Considering who he was guarding, Boston Celtics rookie Robert Williams III did a pretty good job on defense Monday night.
Much of the 25-plus minutes Williams was on the floor in the Celtics’ 113-100 win over the New Orleans Pelicans was spent guarding star big man Anthony Davis. Williams made his mark with a pair of blocks on Davis, but he and Daniel Theis neutralized him enough to at least give the Celtics the victory.
That said, Davis still dropped 41 points on the Celtics.
After the game, Boston head coach Brad Stevens was asked about Williams “holding his own” against Davis, and Stevens — never one to miss out on an opportunity to put his dry humor on display — cracked a little joke.
“Well, he held him to 41,” Stevens deadpanned.
Afterward, however, Stevens praised the 21-year-old.
“Listen, that was nothing against Robert,” Stevens clarified. “I think ultimately (Davis is) a hard guy to guard and Robert made it as tough as possible. But yeah, you just keep going. He got spun out right on the first play, he got dunked on, and right there even though you know it’s coming, even though you’ve watched film on it all day, that’s great learning experience. You just get a little lower next time to make sure that doesn’t happen. That’s all why experience is so valuable. Experience guarding really good players is really valuable.”
With some key players out, Williams likely is about to keep seeing significant minutes, and Monday seemed to indicate he’s ready for that responsibility.