Celtics Role Players Thrived In NBA Playoff Spotlight In Series Vs. Bucks

Grant Williams scored a career-high 27 points in Game 7

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In the NBA playoffs, the spotlight isn’t just reserved for the game’s stars. It has its way of illuminating role players as well and bringing out the best, or the worst, in them.

And the Boston Celtics saw their supporting cast not shy away from the pressure-packed moments and routinely deliver when called upon throughout their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Grant Williams turned in one of the better offensive performances of his career in Game 2, only to monumentally out-do that by improbably being the one to take over in Boston’s Game 7 victory at TD Garden on Sunday with a playoff career-high 27 points on seven 3-pointers.

Al Horford even turned back the clock in the series, having the best offensive output of his playoff career — he’s a 15-year NBA veteran — by tallying 30 points to lead the Celtics to a come-from-behind win on the road in Game 4.

As much as Derrick White has struggled offensively since Boston acquired him at the trade deadline, even he stepped up on that end of the floor in Game 6. Daniel Theis and Payton Pritchard, who knocked down as many treys (four) as the Bucks in Game 7, had their moments in the series as well.

All of it shows that Boston’s role players weren’t fazed by the elevated stage of the playoffs and rose to the occasion to make a monumental difference, unlike their counterparts on the Bucks — with maybe the exception of Bobby Portis.

“It’s huge. In a series a role player can flip a series, and I’ve seen that as a player and a coach,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said following Boston’s 109-81 Game 7 victory. “Certain ones definitely stand out, and so we rely on the big guys to do what they do every night and the other teams (do) as well for the most part. But those (role) guys can make or break a series and it’s good for us that, like I’ve said quite a few times, we don’t rely on one guy, although we understand who are our main scorers are.

“We kind of spread it around, equal opportunity. You want to have that balance and it affords everybody the opportunity to step out and shine on certain nights, whoever’s chance it is. But we lean on Jayson (Tatum) and Jaylen (Brown) to do what they do on a night to night basis, and get the contributions from everybody else. That’s what makes us harder to guard than focus on one guy, (Jrue) Holiday or Giannis (Antetokounmpo) or whoever it may be.”

The Celtics role players will need to step up once again as Boston heads to Miami on Tuesday for the start of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum
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