The Boston Celtics have started to dig themselves a late-season hole.
After back-to-back losses to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks, the Celtics continue to do harm by their run at the top of the Eastern Conference. The importance of that feat goes without question with home-court advantage, as shown in the past, a major factor for even the best teams in the league. Especially with opponents like the Bucks, Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers not too far in Boston’s rearview.
Now, without a breather following Sunday’s gut-wrenching double-overtime loss at TD Garden, the C’s head over to Cleveland with a trio of starters sidelined, putting Boston at risk of a third consecutive loss.
This triggered Kendrick Perkins’ concern meter with Boston. The ex-player-turned-analyst, however, didn’t highlight any in-game concerns but instead one with Robert Williams.
“I’m very concerned,” Perkins said Monday on ESPN’s “NBA Today.” “And I’m concerned because the health of Robert Williams. Like when is he gonna be available to show us consistently that he could be on the floor? And Jayson Tatum said it himself. He is the piece as far as us trying to complete the mission of winning it all.”
Williams, who began the season with a 29-game delay due to offseason surgery, went down with a leg injury Friday against the Nets. And according to the latest from head coach Joe Mazzulla, Williams (best-case scenario) could return in 7-10 days.
Before going down, Williams had fallen into a rhythm in Mazzulla’s rotation, averaging 8.4 points and 8.6 rebounds through 24 games.
Yet, Perkins isn’t sold and questions Williams’ reliability.
“He’s still kind of favoring that knee injury that he has,” Perkins said. “His history tells us that you really can’t rely on him. And when you think about the Eastern Conference, you thinking about Giannis (Antetokounmpo), Brook Lopez and. … (Bobby) Portis with the Milwaukee Bucks. And then you thinking about big Joel Embiid and Philly and it’s like, can you really get past those two teams alone without Robert Williams or the available Robert Williams? No.”
The Celtics, who will without Williams, Tatum and Al Horford, tip off Monday against the Cavaliers at 7 p.m. ET from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.