Robert Williams

Eastern Notes: Williams III, Oladipo, Pistons, Magic

Celtics center Robert Williams III will likely deal with his knee injury for the rest of the playoffs, head coach Ime Udoka said, as relayed by Jay King of The Athletic. Williams missed Game 3 against Miami due to knee soreness and swelling, but the team is currently listing him as questionable for Game 4.

Williams, a defensive-minded center, averaged a career-high 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game this season, anchoring Boston’s elite defense. He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the knee at the end of March, then suffered a bone bruise last series.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

Heat’s Butler, Celtics’ Williams Questionable For Game 4

Heat star Jimmy Butler (knee inflammation) and Celtics center Robert Williams III (knee soreness) are both listed as questionable for Game 4 on Monday night, according to the teams’ injury reports. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Butler plans to play. He missed the second half of Game 3 due to the injury, while Williams missed the entire contest.

The Heat are also listing Tyler Herro (groin strain), Kyle Lowry (hamstring strain), Max Strus (hamstring strain), P.J. Tucker (knee irritation) and Gabe Vincent (hamstring strain) as questionable. In addition, the Celtics have tabbed Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain) as questionable and Jayson Tatum (right cervical nerve impingement) as probable to play.

Smart and Tatum suffered their injuries during Game 3, leaving the court momentarily before returning a short time later. Miami has been listing Lowry, Tucker, Vincent and Strus on its injury report for quite some time, though Tucker suffered his knee injury this series. He was previously dealing with a calf injury.

Despite missing Butler in the second half, Miami held on to win Game 3 and take a 2-1 series lead. Boston also missed Williams, one of the league’s best defenders, as Bam Adebayo finished with 31 points. By winning on Monday, Boston would tie the series 2-2. If the team loses, however, it would head back to Miami facing a 3-1 deficit for Game 5 on Wednesday.

Kyle Lowry Intends To Return In Game 3; Robert Williams Unlikely To Play

5:22pm: Williams is expected to miss tonight’s game, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

1:03pm: Heat star Kyle Lowry plans to go through his pre-game routine with the intention of returning for Game 3 on Saturday night, head coach Erik Spoelstra said, per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter link).

Spoelstra also confirmed that P.J. Tucker intends to do the same thing, as we previously relayed.

Lowry has missed Miami’s last four games due to a strained hamstring, while Tucker is dealing with a knee contusion. Lowry did return for Games 3 and 4 against Philadelphia last round, but it caused him to re-aggravate the hamstring issue. He originally suffered the injury in Game 3 of the first round against Atlanta.

The Celtics added a player to their injury report for Saturday’s contest, as Robert Williams III (knee soreness) is now questionable to play, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link). Most players listed as questionable during the playoffs wind up being activated – several Heat players have been listed as questionable to this point – but Williams has been dealing with knee issues for quite some time.

The 24-year-old underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus at the end of March. He then suffered a bone bruise in the same knee in Game 6 of the second round, causing soreness and swelling. Williams has averaged 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 24.1 minutes through the first two games this series, shooting 8-of-11 (73%).

Provided he’s healthy and conditioned enough, Lowry should give the Heat a valuable point of attack in its starting unit. He averaged a team-high 7.5 assists per game this season and could help the club push the ball in transition, not giving Boston’s elite defense an opportunity to set up.

Williams has served as one of the best rim protectors in the league this season. He allows the Celtics to play big and slots alongside Al Horford at center, anchoring one of the best defensive groups in recent memory. He’s also been impactful as a lob threat and strong screen-setter. After Game 3, the Heat and Celtics will meet for Game 4 in Boston on Monday night, then will return to Miami for Game 5 on Wednesday.

Marcus Smart, Mikal Bridges Head All-Defensive Team

Marcus Smart, Mikal Bridges, Rudy Gobert, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jaren Jackson Jr. comprise the 2021/22 All-Defensive First Team, the NBA announced in a press release.

Smart, who was voted Defensive Player of the Year, received the most points with 198 (99 first-place votes), but he was left off of one voter’s ballot. It’s his third All-Defensive nod, all First Team.

DPOY runner-up Bridges was second with 193 points (it’s his first All-Defensive team), followed by third place finisher Gobert (171), a three-time DPOY who has now been voted to the First Team for the sixth straight season.

Antetokounmpo, the ’19/20 DPOY, was voted to his fourth consecutive First Team. He was also selected to the Second Team in ’16/17, so it’s his fifth nod overall.

Jackson, who led the league in blocked shots per game at 2.27, makes his first All-Defensive Team, edging Bam Adebayo by just one point (153 to 152) for the First Team. It’s the third straight season Adebayo has been selected to the Second Team.

Jrue Holiday earns his fourth All-Defensive honor, now owning two Firsts and two Seconds. He also earned a $120K bonus for his efforts, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link), which will increase the Bucks‘ luxury tax payment to about $52MM.

Matisse Thybulle was selected to the Second Team for the second straight year, while Robert Williams earns his first nod. Williams has a $223,215 bonus attached to his rookie scale extension, but he won’t earn it for his efforts this season because he’s in the final season of his rookie contract. However, the award will change his cap hit for ’22/23 (up to $10,937,502), because he’s now considered likely to achieve an All-D nod again next season, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks relays (via Twitter).

Draymond Green, the ’16/17 DPOY, was the final selection to the Second Team. It’s his seventh All-Defensive Team overall (four Firsts, three Seconds). Green is now second among all active players in All-Defensive Team awards, only trailing Chris Paul (nine). He was previously tied with LeBron James at six.

Here are both All-Defensive teams in full, with their voting point totals noted in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2021/22 All-Defensive First Team:

2021/22 All-Defensive Second Team:

A total of 24 other players received votes: 10 guards, 11 forwards and three centers. Among the group that missed the cut, Fred VanVleet was the top guard with 41 points, Evan Mobley was the top forward with 13, and Joel Embiid was the top center with 33. The full results can be found here.

One thing worth noting, which I personally disagree with: media members with ballots are asked to select two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, and vote for players “at the position they play regularly,” which is counterintuitive in the modern NBA, where positions increasingly matter less and less. “Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position at which they received the most voting points,” per the release.

Forcing voters to shoehorn players into positions is a poor process. For example, Adebayo starts at center, but is listed as a forward; Bridges is listed at guard, but starts at small forward. I’m not saying those players were undeserving, far from it — but it’s an irritating and outdated inconsistency.

In my opinion, the best defensive players should be on the All-Defensive teams, regardless of position. I’d also like to see a third All-D team so more recognition is given to players for their efforts on the less glamorous end of the court.

Celtics/Heat Injury Updates: Smart, Williams, Lowry

The Celtics are listing guard Marcus Smart as questionable for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday due to a right mid-foot sprain he sustained in Game 7 of the Eastern Semifinals, the team announced today (via Twitter).

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Smart underwent an MRI on his injured foot and the imaging came back clean, which bodes well for the Celtics and the Defensive Player of the Year going forward. The hope, Wojnarowski says, is that Smart will be good to go for Game 1 vs. Miami, but the team will see how he feels on Tuesday before making a final decision.

In other Celtics injury news, Robert Williams will be available for the series vs. Miami with no minutes restrictions after missing the last four games of the Milwaukee series due to a bone bruise in his left knee (Twitter link).

Williams was technically active and available for Game 7 on Sunday, but head coach Ime Udoka said he didn’t want to adjust his rotation, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Heat point guard Kyle Lowry, who continues to battle a left hamstring injury, didn’t practice on Monday and appears unlikely to be available for Game 1, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

For what it’s worth, Jimmy Butler expressed confidence on Monday that Lowry is close to returning, telling reporters his teammate is in good spirits and remains engaged (Twitter link via Jackson).

Celtics’ Robert Williams Cleared For Game 7

Celtics center Robert Williams will be available for the deciding Game 7 in the team’s second-round series against the Bucks today, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Left knee soreness kept Williams sidelined for the past three games. He incurred a bone bruise after colliding with Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 3.

Grant Williams, who has replaced Robert Williams in the Boston starting lineup since Game 4, will continue to start at center for the Celtics, according to Steve Bulpett of (via Twitter).

Boston head coach Ime Udoka indicates that Robert Williams’ knee has no current structural limitations, Bulpett adds. Further comments by Udoka seem to suggest that Williams may not see the floor much.

“We’re not relying on him to come in and save the day,” Udoka said of Williams, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Weiss notes that Udoka has suggested the Celtics will bring in the recuperated Williams if the game dictates a need for his services.

Along with 2022 Defensive Player of the Year award winner Marcus Smart, Williams proved to be one of the key anchors for one of the NBA’s top defenses during his best professional season to date. The 2021/22 campaign was Williams’s first year as a full-time starter. The 24-year-old out of Texas A&M averaged 10.0 PPG on 73.6% field goal shooting, plus 9.6 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 2.0 APG and 0.9 SPG, across 61 contests, all starts.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Williams, Udoka, Game 7

Marcus Smart couldn’t sleep after the embarrassing end to the Celtics‘ Game 5 loss, but he redeemed himself as Boston won Game 6 in Milwaukee, writes Andrew Callahan of The Boston Herald. With the Celtics trailing by a point in the closing seconds on Wednesday, Smart had his shot blocked by Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, who clinched the game seconds later by stealing the ball from Smart.

“That final minute, those final minutes, ate me alive,” Smart said. “My guys, teammates, coaches, were doing a good job of making sure that I stay as composed as I could and keep my mind right, cause I was really hurt after that. I felt like I let my team down. ‘Just be you.’ That’s just all they kept telling me. (Celtics assistant) Damon Stoudamire pulled me to the side and just told me — cause I dropped my head a couple times in those possessions — he was just, ‘I’ve never seen you do that and I just want you to not to lose confidence in yourself because we need you.’”

Instead of lying awake, Smart spent the night at the Celtics’ practice facility and regained his focus for Game 6. He scored 21 points, handed out seven assists and showed why he was this season’s Defensive Player of the Year by limiting Bucks’ shooters to 33% from the field when he was their primary defender.

“That was to be expected. We have all the confidence in the world in Smart,” Jayson Tatum said. “We knew that he was gonna come back and be the player that we needed him to be on the road in this Game 6, and he stepped up. He was big for us tonight, especially in the beginning, making the right plays.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Injured center Robert Williams has been upgraded to questionable for Game 7 on the Celtics’ injury report (Twitter link). Williams hasn’t played since suffering a bone bruise in his left knee in Game 3, and coach Ime Udoka said Williams’ pain tolerance will determine whether he’ll be active today, according to Trevor Hass of Udoka explained that the injury affects Williams’ mobility on certain movements, but he doesn’t believe it’s a long-term concern.
  • Warriors forward Draymond Green sent out a tweet Friday night stating that Udoka doesn’t receive enough credit for the job he’s done with the Celtics. “I just watched Bucks/Celtics highlights on (ESPN’s Sports Center),” Green wrote. “They showed something about Mike Buldenholzer and then some of the Celtics players talking about the game. But, did not show Ime Udoka at all. Did he make any adjustments from game 5 to 6? Does Ime do Interviews? Just wondering???”
  • The Celtics have lost twice at home to the Bucks already in this series, but they’re glad to have Game 7 in Boston, per David Brandt of The Associated Press. “It means everything,” Tatum said. “The best atmosphere in the NBA. Game 7s are the biggest and best games. Looking forward to it, truly. It’s basketball – biggest moments, biggest stage. What it boils down to is now go out there and just have fun.”

Celtics’ Robert Williams Out For Game 6 Vs. Bucks

Celtics center Robert Williams will miss Friday’s Game 6 against the Bucks due to pain from the bone bruise in his left knee, which he suffered in Game 3, tweets Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

Williams collided with Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 3 and later experienced swelling from the incident, which kept him out of Game 4. The swelling has subsided, but the pain from the injury has lingered, causing him to miss Game 5 and now Game 6. He’d previously been listed as questionable.

I’m disappointed, as we all are, but looking out for his health first and foremost,” said head coach Ime Udoka, adding that Williams won’t play until he’s 100 percent (Twitter links via Jared Weiss and Jay King of The Athletic).

Williams is considered day-to-day and there’s a chance he could return for Game 7 if Boston defeats Milwaukee, per Weiss (via Twitter). The Bucks currently lead the second-round series 3-2.

Although Williams underwent left knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus at the end of March, the bone bruise is unrelated to that procedure and stems solely from what happened in Game 3.

The 24-year-old has had a breakout fourth season, emerging as a legitimate candidate for an All-Defensive nod. He averaged 10.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.0 APG and 2.2 BPG with an impressive .736 FG% in 61 regular season games (29.6 MPG).

He’s been limited by conditioning and foul trouble in some postseason games, averaging 6.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 1.8 BPG in five games (20.2 MPG). Still, it’s a big absence for Boston in a must-win elimination game on the road. Game 6 tips off at 6:30pm CT on ESPN.

Eastern Notes: Knicks, R. Williams, Isaac, Portis

The Knicks held a free agent mini-camp this week, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog (Twitter link), who says a number of players with NBA experience were in attendance.

Guards Devon Dotson and Chris Clemons, swingman DaQuan Jeffries, forwards Louis King and George King, and big men Alize Johnson and Reggie Perry were among the players who participated in the Knicks’ mini-camp, per Zagoria. John Petty, Craig Randall, Carlik Jones, Aaron Henry, and A.J. Lawson also took part.

The Knicks won’t necessarily sign any of the free agents who attended the mini-camp, but it gave them a chance to see some of the talent that’s out there as they mull possible Summer League and training camp invites.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics big man Robert Williams, who is still listed as questionable for Game 6 on Friday, was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left knee after colliding with Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 3, head coach Ime Udoka said today. Williams’ injured knee is the same one he had surgery on in March, but that procedure isn’t the cause of his current absence. “There’s no problems with the surgery at all,” Udoka said, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “It’s just that specific hit that he took (in Game 3).”
  • Because of the injury-related language and games-played requirements in Jonathan Isaac‘s contract with the Magic, his $17.4MM annual salaries for the next three years are now partially guaranteed instead of fully guaranteed, as Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets. Isaac has missed two straight seasons due to an ACL tear, but there’s no indication that the Magic are considering waiving him, which is the only way they could avoid paying his full salaries.
  • Bobby Portis only shot 4-of-14 from the floor in the Bucks‘ Game 5 win on Wednesday, but he grabbed 15 rebounds and made the sort of crucial hustle plays the team values, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Averaging a double-double (11.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG) so far this postseason, Portis is once again displaying his value ahead of possible free agency. He holds a $4.6MM player option for 2022/23.

Atlantic Notes: Reddish, Knicks, Williams, Maxey

Forward Cam Reddish has been at the Knicks’ training center over the past week and has started basketball activities, including light shooting, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports.

Reddish, who was acquired by the Knicks from Atlanta in January, saw his season end prematurely in early March when he suffered a separated right shoulder. As a former first-round pick entering his fourth season, Reddish is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.

In 15 games (14.3 MPG) with the Knicks, Reddish put up modest totals of 6.1 PPG and 1.4 RPG on .415/.258/.906 shooting.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The realistic goal for the Knicks to upgrade their roster is to put the pieces in place to trade for a top-level player, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. In terms of the draft, if the Knicks don’t move up in the lottery, Hollinger believes they ought to target Australian guard Dyson Daniels. Daniels who played in the G League has a pass-first mentality and the ability to guard multiple positions.
  • Celtics center Robert Williams is listed as questionable for Friday’s Game 6 against the Bucks, Jared Weiss tweets. Williams averaged 23.3 MPG in the first three games of the series but sat out the last two games.
  • Tyrese Maxey was surprised he slipped to No. 21 in the 2020 draft, the spot where the Sixers snapped him up, as he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. He thought he might go as high as No. 11 to the Spurs. He also thought the Magic at No. 15 and the Heat at No. 20 would take him. “Miami, Orlando and San Antonio. Those were the three teams I thought would draft me,” Maxey said. “When I started slipping, I was upset, but I kept reminding myself that my dream of getting drafted was coming true.”