Atlantic Notes: Celtics, R. Williams, Sixers, Durant

The Celtics are still planning to play without Robert Williams III for their entire first-round series against the Nets, Conor Roche of writes. Williams suffered a torn meniscus on March 28 and could still return at some point this postseason.

“He’s progressing nicely, coming along. But we’re prepared to play a series without him,” head coach Ime Udoka said. “If we get a surprise and he’s back early, that would be nice. But we’re prepared to play this series without him.”

Boston started Daniel Theis in place of Williams on Sunday, which allowed them to continue playing big. Williams has established himself as one of the league’s best defensive big men, averaging a career-high 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 61 games this season.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic:

  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers and Raptors coach Nick Nurse understand the playoffs are about making adjustments, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Toronto lost Game 1 of its first-round series against Philadelphia 131-111, allowing Tyrese Maxey to score 38 points. The Sixers also made just three turnovers and shot 51% from the floor.
  • The Sixers were perfectly prepared for Game 1, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice writes. Philadelphia kept the rebounding battle close, which was something the club discussed before the game. “All the days of practice that we had, we knew that’s the type of team that they are, scrappy,” Tobias Harris said. “We’ve been drilling it all day in practice, and when we got out there today, that was our emphasis from early in the game. We had to match their physicality and even be more physical than them.”
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post examines the evolution of Kevin Durant‘s playmaking. Durant averaged 29.9 points and a career-high 6.4 assists per game for the Nets this season. He recorded 16 assists against Indiana in the team’s final regular-season game, then followed it up with 11 assists against Cleveland in the play-in tournament.
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