For the first time in the Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics will have all the players in their regular rotation available to play.
About two hours prior to tip off of Game 5 against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, the Celtics announced Marcus Smart and Robert Williams, who were both questionable coming into the contest due to injuries, will suit up to play in the pivotal matchup.
Smart sprained his right ankle during Game 3, and returned to that contest, but ended up sitting out Game 4. He arrived to the arena prior to Game 5 with a wrap on his right leg and somewhat of a limp, but will try to push through to give the Celtics a lift.
Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Williams, who has dealt with lingering left knee soreness throughout the playoffs, will not play under a minute restriction, but the Celtics will continue to be cautious with him. Even with a careful approach, Williams should continue to give the Celtics a boost.
“It’s his consistency on both ends,” Udoka said. “He gives us a vertical threat at the rim. Five offensive rebounds last game, so those extra possessions that we lack without him there. And defensively, a deterrent. Guys are constantly are looking for him. … He brings a different dimension to us defensively, and I think that’s impacted Miami to some extent.”
The Heat ruled out Tyler Herro (groin) for the game as the guard will miss his second straight contest.
With Smart and Williams both in the lineup, the Celtics will look to gain control of the series on Wednesday with Game 5 tipping off around 8:45 p.m. ET at FTX Arena.