The Boston Celtics returned from the All-Star break much like they entered it, in dominant fashion. The C’s easily handled a flailing Brooklyn Nets squad on Thursday night to the tune of 129-106. The victory marked Boston’s 10th win over their last 11 games with a point differential of +224 points over that span — the second-largest point differential over an 11-game, single-season span in NBA history, per Basketball Reference’s Justin Kubatko.
With the team cruising to yet another win, Celtics players and fans were able to find the humor in some of the more subtle nuances from the victory over Brooklyn, namely Jayson Tatum’s refusal to throw an alley-oop to teammate Grant Williams on a fastbreak during the final quarter of regulation.
After Tatum shunned Willams’ call for the alley-oop in favor of taking matters into his own hands, TNT cameras caught Williams saying, “Oh wow” as the two teammates trotted back on defense, exchanging laughs. Following the game, Tatum was predictably asked by reporters why he didn’t toss Williams the lob.
Tatum Makes ‘Executive Decision’
“First of all, I love Grant to death, but he had a better chance of just calling for the ball, I think. When he pointed up is when I made the executive decision of taking it myself,” Tatum said, chuckling. “Because I think, I don’t know, if Grant has caught an alley-oop, he’s probably caught two or three in his whole career.”
Of course, as Twitter typically does, it quickly came with receipts on the matter. Such as Celtics Blog’s Jack Simone, who retweeted a video from back in Williams’ collegiate days at the University of Tennessee. In the clip, which was originally shared by Rocky Top Report in 2019, Williams is seen slamming home a baseline alley-oop.
Tatum: ‘Grant Is a Lot Lower on That List’
Williams shouldn’t feel too salty about the situation as Tatum is admittedly partial to who he’ll willingly throw a lob to.
“I just told him, on the fast break, there are two guys I’m going to throw the lob to: Rob [Williams] and [Jaylen Brown],” Tatum said. “Grant is a lot lower on that list. So maybe we can practice it, but in-game, I did not feel comfortable throwing Grant Williams an alley-oop on a fast break. So, I decided to just take it myself.”
All-in-all, the two look to be all good, and why shouldn’t they? The team is skyrocketing up the Eastern Conference rankings, sitting just 4.5 games out of first place — thanks in large part to Williams’ growth on the hardwood.
“That shows the evolution of Grant. He’s been working on his game,” Tatum said of Williams evolving play. “Obviously, when he first came in, he did, more so, what he was asked. Come in, be an energy guy, screen, rebound. He’s shot the ball extremely well and expanded his game.”
Tatum added, “Obviously, he’s a key part of our team and what we’re trying to do moving forward. Just having another guy who can make plays off the dribble, especially driving closeouts and things like that. Everybody feels comfortable with Grant doing that because we see the work he’s puts in.”
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