Atlantic Notes: Williams, Durant, Thybulle, Stevens

Celtics center Robert Williams III had a strong performance in the team’s 114-112 victory over Chicago on Saturday, Jared Weiss of The Athletic writes. Williams finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and two blocks, helping Boston secure a much-needed win at home.

“I think he was just out there playing with a lot of energy, staying solid, and he’s handled it very well,” Celtics veteran Al Horford said of Williams. “He looks more and more comfortable, and that’s a good time for us.”

Williams agreed to a four-year, $54MM contract extension with Boston last summer. In 35 starts this season, he’s averaged a career-best 10.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks, playing 29.3 minutes per game. The Celtics rank sixth in defensive rating (107.3) largely because of his play.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic:

  • Alex Schiffer of The Athletic examines what Kevin Durant‘s MCL sprain means for the Nets. Durant is averaging 29.3 points per game this season, his highest mark since the 2012/13 season. He’s also shooting 52% from the floor, 37% from three and 89% from the charity stripe. “We’ve been a resilient group all year since I’ve been here,” James Harden said. “So, we just got to keep pushing.”
  • Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle will be out for at least one week after an MRI revealed a right shoulder sprain, Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times tweets. Thybulle missed the team’s game against Miami on Saturday due to the injury, starting in 17 of his 32 games so far this season.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of Full Court Press spoke to Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens about the upcoming trade deadline. The deadline falls on February 10 this season, just three weeks from Thursday. “It’s always the same goal here,” Stevens said. “Whatever we do has to make sense…putting yourself in the mix to compete for the next banner.”
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