Behind a collective effort from their starters, the Boston Celtics held on to beat the Miami Heat in Game 3 on Saturday to cut the series deficit to 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Led by Jaylen Brown, four starters scored at least 20 points to take the 117-106 win.
Celtics rookie Grant Williams played a key role in the win, recording five points, one rebound and one steal in 10 minutes of work off the bench. Williams provided a sound defensive effort and did numerous things that didn’t show up in the box score.
During his outing, Williams was mic’d up by the broadcast on ESPN and was pure comedy. From joking with Gordon Hayward about his mustache to playing rock-paper-scissors with Brown, Williams was a perfect fit to be mic’d up.
Among the group of rookies on the Celtics, only Williams has seen consistent playing time. He is often used as the center on the court when the Celtics want to run a small lineup and has performed well in that role, especially defensively.
Prior to Game 3 on Saturday, the Celtics have outscored opponents by 6.3 points per 100 possessions when Williams is the center on the court. They are only allowing 103.8 points per 100 possessions during those situations, which ranks in the 98th percentile.
Though Williams is only averaging 3.4 points and 1.6 rebounds during the postseason, he has found other ways to contribute and has played an important role for the team. The Celtics will likely continue to lean on Williams throughout the remainder of the playoffs.