Celtics Reserve Shines in Game 2, Sends Message to Giannis & The Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo Celtics

Getty Images Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks drives to the basket against Grant Williams of the Celtics

After losing to the Milwaukee Bucks 101-89 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Boston Celtics’ Grant Williams anticipated a different outcome in Game 2.

Still, he knew the Celtics needed an extraordinary offensive attack to sustain Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and the Bucks’ relentless defense.

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Milwaukee held Boston to 89 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, on Sunday — which set the stage for an incredible first-quarter performance from Jaylen Brown. He scored 17 points in the opening frame before finishing with a game-high 30 points. Jayson Tatum netted 29 and Williams found his outside touch early and often.

Grant Williams: ‘Our Offense Was the Number One Thing We Came Into This Game Discussing’

Grant scored a career-high 21 points on 7-of-14 attempts, including 6-of-9 from behind the arc in the Celtics’ series-tying 109-86 victory.

“We knew that our defense had done a solid job in Game 1. Our offense was the number one thing we came into this game discussing,” Williams said after the win Tuesday. “That was where the flow came in. We didn’t give up as many fast-break points and transition opportunities; that’s where they excel. They’re one of the best teams in the league at it, and for us, it was just a matter of when they got in the halfcourt defending and being ourselves.”

Williams also finished with five rebounds and a pair of assists.

Grant Williams on Containing Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘View it as Guarding Him on an Island’

However, what stood out the most was Grant’s intensity on the defensive end of the floor, including a series of defensive stops on Antetokounmpo at the rim and on the perimeter.

“I view it as guarding him on an island — where it’s just you and him; you have to do your job,” Williams said. “For us, that was kind of how we viewed it for this game, to see how it would go. He tried being a lot more aggressive in the second half, getting downhill and creating for himself. But, it’s just one of those things you have to kind of hunker down and trusts in the work that you’ve done. And, do your best to contain one of the best players in the world.”

Williams’ playoff heroics also made franchise history, as the first Celtics player to make 6+ 3-pointers while shooting at least 50% from the floor in a playoff game, per Celtics.

Heading into a crucial Game 2 matchup without the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart was a tough blow for the Celtics. However, it didn’t waver the team’s confidence in striking back to even up its best-of-7 series before heading to Milwaukee for Game 3.

“Honestly, we weren’t that tense,” Grant explained. “We all knew we were going to respond well. As a team, we never kind of get like that. We trust one another. Even if we ended up 0-2, we knew that we were going to fight back and compete in this series. So, for us, it was just a matter of approaching the game as if we had to make those adjustments, and when we did knew, we would have success.”