Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla announced that center Robert Williams will be sidelined for seven-to-10 days with a strained left hamstring, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. However, given Williams’ history of injuries, Washburn believes he could be out longer and it might be best to shut him down until the playoffs.
Williams didn’t play Sunday after hurting his hamstring in Friday’s loss to the Nets. Washburn notes that even though Sunday’s game went to two overtimes, Mazzulla didn’t bring big men Luke Kornet or Blake Griffin off his bench. Grant Williams was used at center for long stretches of the game, and the Knicks repeatedly attacked him on the pick-and-roll.
According to Washburn, the Celtics believe they can survive the loss of their starting center with their current rotation of big men. However, he notes that the team has an open roster spot and there are numerous veteran free agents for president of basketball operations Brad Stevens to consider.
There’s more from Boston:
- After holding the NBA’s best record for most of the season, the Celtics have now dropped three of their last four games, Washburn adds. Mazzulla said he has “zero concerns” about the recent rough patch, framing it as an opportunity for the team to grow. “You obviously want to be playing your best basketball later in the season as you get closer to the playoffs, but this is a tough stretch,” Mazzulla said. “And whatever this stretch has you have to learn from it and use it later in the year.”
- With Robert Williams unavailable, Mazzulla went back to his early-season lineup by inserting Derrick White into the starting five, per Brian Robb of MassLive. White had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes, and Robb suggests he could be considered the team’s third-most valuable player behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
- Al Horford believes a lack of focus is causing the Celtics to let big leads slip away, according to Souichi Terada of MassLive. Brooklyn overcame a 28-point deficit Friday night, and New York trailed by as many as 14 points on Sunday. “We’re not locking in as much as we need to,” Horford said. “This is the second time that we kind of have a lead, we feel good about it, a team makes a run and we just kind of let them back in the game. And throughout the season, you’re gonna have adversity. We’ve played pretty good basketball most of the year, and this is a time where you tighten up, you fix some of these things, some of these issues, or it goes the other way.”