Why Robert Williams Did Not Play In Game 7 Despite Being Available For Celtics

The Celtics didn't need Williams in their 109-81 victory


BOSTON — Celtics head coach Ime Udoka shared that Robert Williams would be available should Boston need him for Game 7 on Sunday, but the star center proved not to be needed.

Williams did not play in Boston’s 109-81 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Williams was questionable with left knee soreness entering Sunday and did not play in the final four games of the Eastern Conference semifinal series due to the ailment.

Udoka explained why he opted to keep Williams on the bench during the pivotal Game 7.

“I think, like I said, it was on a need-be basis — foul trouble, needing a defensive rebound at the free-throw line, or some rim protection on a specific play we could use him,” Udoka said after Boston advanced with the series-clinching win. “At the same time, we won two of the last three without him and had a chance to win Game 5, obviously. It wasn’t like we were desperate to get him back. We understand what it is and wanted to take a cautious approach. 

“If we needed to get him in, we would. But we were fine with (Daniel) Theis, Al (Horford), and Grant (Williams) doing what they’ve done all series.”

Grant Williams, specifically, was exceptional for the Celtics. He scored a game-high 27 points while shooting 10-for-22 from the field and 7-for-18 from beyond the arc.

Udoka’s decision likely was made a bit easier as the Celtics ran away from the Bucks at the start of the third quarter and continued to build on their lead.

Williams’ availability, though, is promising with the Celtics now set to face the top-seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The best-of-seven series with start Tuesday in Miami with tipoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.

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