Ahead of a potential elimination game tonight in Philadelphia, the Celtics have opted to swap center Robert Williams into their starting lineup for guard Derrick White, per Shams Charania and Jared Weiss of The Athletic.
The Sixers, led by newly-minted league MVP Joel Embiid and veteran point guard James Harden, currently lead Boston 3-2, and have an opportunity to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 22 years with a home victory tonight.
As The Athletic’s duo notes, Williams had served as the team’s All-Defensive Team starting center during Boston’s 2021/22 season, which resulted in an NBA Finals run. Injuries have limited his availability this season, and he has been used in more of a reserve capacity, with White replacing him in a smaller first five.
“Just [gives] us a different look,” Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said of the switch, Weiss tweets. “Rob gives us a lift on the defensive end.”
Sources inform Charania and Weiss that backup guard Payton Pritchard could also see additional time tonight after enjoying an active run in mop-up duty during the end of a Game 5 blowout loss.