The Boston Celtics had their hands full when they took on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2022 Eastern Conference Semifinals. It took seven games for the Celtics to beat the 2021 NBA Champions. Antetokounmpo himself averaged 33.9 points, 14.7 rebounds, and 7.1 assists throughout the seven-game series. The Celtics threw many defenders at Giannis to stop him. Among those defenders was Grant Williams.
Williams reflected on what it was like to guard Antetoukounmpo in an interview with Sportcasting. Williams praised how Giannis’ physical attributes allow him to create for himself and others.
“His physical size and his ability to stretch across the lane and finish at the rim and create for his teammates… He’s such a threat.”
Williams further detailed how tough it can be to guard him and how it could get even tougher from here.
“It’s a very difficult process,” Williams said. “Especially if you don’t have the size to defend him. He’s able to put his head down and put you in a position where you have no chance. As he develops his jump shot year after year, it’s going to be even more difficult to guard him. The hope is that he starts settling a little more.”
The Celtics survived Antetokoumnpo’s onslaught to go on to face the Miami Heat in the next round, thanks in part to Grant’s 27-point performance in Game 7.
If the Celtics want to return to the finals, they may have to go through the two-time MVP and the Bucks again to do so.
In that same interview with Sportcasting, Williams also talked about his few interactions with Celtics legend Bill Russell.
Williams Thanked Russell for his Example
According to Williams, he only met with Russell twice and spoke to him once. In the lone time he spoke to Russell, Williams thanked him for the example he set for his family.
“He was sitting courtside, and I just ran up in the middle of halftime and shook his hand because I wanted to thank him for all he did for my family more than anything else, in terms of how his career led my grandfather to a positive path. I just wanted to thank him for that.
“It was a quick interaction because I had to get back to the game. That was the one real interaction I had with Bill. Outside of that, it was at Kobe’s memorial. I didn’t spend time with him, but I saw him there.”
When Russell’s passing had been announced, Williams paid tribute to him on his personal Twitter account.
Williams also got candid on the trade rumors involving the Celtics over the past few weeks.
Williams Wants to Stay in Boston
During the interview, Williams was asked about the rumors involving the Celtics and Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant. Williams said he would be flattered to be included in a deal for Durant, but made it clear that he wants to stay in Boston.
“If I get involved in the KD trade — I don’t want to leave Boston. I love Boston. It’s one of the places I want to be — but he’s a top-10 player ever… You can say, ‘Dang, I got traded for Kevin Durant. I was a value add in that trade.’ It’d be cool to say that, but at the same time, I don’t want to go anywhere. I’d rather stay where I’m at.”
Williams vocalized his intentions to stay during the 2022 NBA Las Vegas Summer League because he loves the city and the friends he’s made on the team.
“I think both parties are hopefully mutually understanding that we want to get this thing done and make sure that we come together and have a successful next few years,” Williams said. “Because I love Boston, I love the fact that I not only get to be there and be around the team that I’m with, cause I have great relationships with the guys. But I also just love the city and being able to live there.”