Celtics Notes: Robert Williams Builds Case To Be Starter With Strong Performance

'I feel like I did what I'm put out there to do'


Robert Williams got his first start of the season for the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

And boy, did he make quite the impression.

Williams had just seven points in Boston’s 122-114 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum, but he also picked up nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and five blocks in 27 minutes.

“I’m assuming he was comfortable with how everything went tonight,” head coach Brad Stevens said after the game. “We certainly were. He did a good job. I don’t think it’s as big a surprise, scoring opportunities may not be there as much in the starting lineup just because you’re playing against the best players. But I thought he did a great job. … He certainly is a threat down there at the time that people have to account for. … He does draw attention when he’s on the baseline which opens up things for other shooters.”

The center started in place of Tristan Thompson, who’s in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, but could return at some point next week.

“I see that probability in the near term (that he will start),” Stevens said. “I don?t see Tristan back in the next couple of games.”

The Celtics certainly played better overall against a tough Bucks team. But if Williams — who will start in place of Thompson while he’s out — can continue to string together performances like we saw Friday, it may make Stevens’ job of putting together a starting lineup a little more difficult.

“He’s clearly our best big that’s here,” he said. “That’s not a knock on Moe (Wagner) or Luke (Kornet). He’s just ahead of those guys. We’ll cross those bridges when we get there.”

As for Williams, he was just doing his job.

“I feel like I did what I’m put out there to do,” he said. “I feel like I generated a lot of energy for my teammates.”

It’s fair to assume Williams will start Saturday when the C’s take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, and it certainly will be interesting to see what Stevens does when Thompson returns.

Here are some other notes from Friday’s Celtics-Bucks game:

— Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker were cooking, combining for 96 of the the team’s 122 points. In fact, according to Causeway Street Blog, it’s the most the four have scored in a single game since Walker came to Boston.

— Moe Wagner saw his first minutes as a Celtic late in the game and finished with three points and five rebounds.

Wagner, who was involved in the trade that sent Daniel Theis to the Chicago Bulls during Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, said he was on his pregame walk when he found out he was going to Boston.

“It was nuts. Honestly getting traded, it’s not my first time,” he said. “I know how it works.”

That doesn’t mean he isn’t happy with how things played out for him.

“It’s crazy,” Wagner said, “but I’m very happy to be here.”

— Boston snapped Milwaukee’s eight-game win streak with what a full-team effort.

“It helps when you shoot as well as we did,” Stevens said. “? But yeah we played with good purpose, good connectivity.”

— The Celtics made 22 3-point shots on the night including seven from Smart.

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