On March 24, the Boston Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers, marking their second straight win and fifth victory in their last seven games.
Throughout the game, Robert Williams, who was playing his second game since returning from injury, was an impactful member of the rotation on both ends of the floor.
“Rob is the key,” Brown said. “We just gotta keep Rob healthy, you know, keep his mindset strong. Keep finding him when he, you know, gets to the basket, but he’s such an impactful player on both ends of the floor. So anytime he’s out there, you know, he makes our team a lot better.”
Williams, 25, received 15 minutes of playing time as the Celtics look to re-integrate him into the rotation slowly, but even in reduced minutes, he managed to score 4 points, grab 8 rebounds, dish out an assist, and get three steals and three blocks.
Joe Mazzula Credits Robert Williams After Win
Williams has struggled for health this season, with the game against Indiana just his 30th appearance during this basketball year; however, there’s no denying that when he’s on the court, he can be a genuine difference maker.
“I think when you know you have a guy like that, it obviously jolts your defensive joy, I guess you could say, to be a little bit more aggressive because you just feel that,” Mazzulla said. “Rob just has an intangible where guys just feel protected because of his ability to do that. And so it definitely up’s our guys’s intensity defensively.”
Despite not having Williams available for the majority of the season, the Celtics have still developed an elite-level defense, ranking fourth in the NBA for defensive rating.
Jayson Tatum Glad Robert Williams is Back
When speaking to the media following the Celtics March 21 victory over the Sacramento Kings, Jayson Tatum discussed how Williams’ presence in the rotation alters the Celtics dynamic to make them a better, more well-rounded team.
“Obviously, we’re a lot bigger when he’s out there,” Tatum said. “It just makes us much more dynamic, I feel like, his presence, even if he’s not blocking shots, maybe he’s deterring people away from attacking the basket. He’s grabbing rebounds. Giving second and third-chance opportunities. Obviously, a lob threat. So, it was just great to have the whole team out there. Obviously, we didn’t have P [Payton Pritchard], but having the starters and having Rob back, we’re just a different team.”
Tatum played well against the Pacers, scoring 34 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, dishing 2 assists, and garnering 2 steals while shooting 54.2% from the field and 33.3% from deep, however, he did have six turnovers, which is an area that continues to plauge his game.
The Celtics will now turn their attention toward the San Antonio Spurs, who they will face on Sunday, March 26.