BOSTON — Grant Williams has undergone a challenging recent stretch and Boston Celtics teammates vocalized their support for him following the team’s 115-93 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at TD Garden.
Williams, who was the lone face of a backfiring moment at the free-throw line against the Cleveland Cavaliers, hasn’t seen much consistency in his minutes recently. And on Wednesday night, the 24-year-old’s playing time dipped again, getting 12 minutes of action against the Trail Blazers, which also kept him sidelined through the first three quarters.
This obviously restricted Williams’ ability to contribute off the bench, scoring eight points while shooting 3-of-8 from the field with five rebounds. With Williams approaching what could be his first major payday this upcoming offseason, this could be especially frustrating during what’s been a career-best year for him.
Nevertheless, tasked with overcoming his instability in minutes, Celtics teammates Al Horford and Derrick White made it clear that they have Williams’ back.
“I think the biggest thing is for him to continue to work and stay ready and do things that he needs to do,” Horford said. “And he’s been great at that. Grant has been very professional, very positive and when he’s getting these opportunities, he’s making the most of them. And it’s something that, as a team, we’re rallying together.”
Williams has averaged a career-high 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds this season through 65 games. Before the All-Star break, Williams averaged 27.9 minutes. Now, eight games since the break, Williams has played 17.9 minutes on the floor for the Celtics.
“He’s doing a good job,” White said. “Obviously it’s not easy but he’s a great guy, a great person. He wants everybody to succeed and we all love Grant. So we got his back and he’s got ours.”
White, who could relate to Williams to a degree having shifted from different roles with the Celtics, offered his perspective as the guard would be a suitable starter on other teams across the league.
“I’m playing basketball, I’m blessed,” White said. “I’m trying just to have the right perspective on things. But just understand it’s a team game. There’ll be times when I need to close, there’s gonna be times when Malcolm (Brogdon), (Marcus) Smart. I mean, it’s hard to take them out of the game as well. Any time I’m out there I’m just trynna do the things to help us win games.”
Horford, White and Williams will search for a second straight win when they kick off their road trip on Saturday night. The Celtics and Atlanta Hawks square off from State Farm Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET.