The Boston Celtics picked up their third win in a row on Tuesday night, taking down the Chicago Bulls by a score of 107-99. Jayson Tatum led the game in scoring with 32 points, tacking on eight rebounds and seven assists as well. However, he wasn’t the highlight of the night.
Instead, it was Robert Williams – who made his first start of the season for the Celtics. The big man returned from offseason surgery last month but had been coming off the bench prior to Boston’s win over Chicago. After the game, Tatum sent a strong message regarding Williams’ first start.
“Felt like we was back to normal,” Tatum said. “Obviously, [Marcus] Smart wasn’t there, but Rob looked great. It looked like he was in a great rhythm. Obviously, he made some big-time hustle play. He just gives us that lob threat, rim protection. Obviously, how well he can pass the ball. Extremely happy to have him back.”
Prior to the Bulls game, there had been some questions regarding whether or not Williams would re-enter the starting lineup this season, but those were temporarily put to rest. Whether or not Williams will remain in the starting lineup when Smart returns is an unknown.
Regardless, Williams made his case to be a permanent starter against the Bulls, despite his seemingly underwhelming stats. The big man played 22:56 against the Bulls – his season-high in minutes. He ended the night with six points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks on 3-of-4 shooting from the field.
Jayson Tatum Urged Celtics to Start Robert Williams
Last season, the Celtics laid claim to the best five-man unit in the NBA – Smart, Jaylen Brown, Tatum, Al Horford, and Williams. Once Williams returns to 100 percent, there’s no reason they can’t get back to being the dominant force they were last year.
After Boston’s recent win over the San Antonio Spurs, in which Williams was a driving force, Tatum said that he wanted to see Williams placed back in the starting lineup.
“Whether he starts or comes off the bench, [I] just want him on the floor,” Tatum said. “Want him healthy. And want to be on the floor with him at the same time as much as possible. So, you know, I’m gonna start, so I would like Rob to start, but, you know, whatever’s best for the team, he’ll do that. And, you know, as much as I can be on the court with him as possible, you know, I think [that] makes us better.”
Robert Williams Happy to Go With the Flow
As for the big man himself, he has no problems with coming off the bench. He stated that he’s happy to do whatever the team needs him to do.
“I’m here for whatever,” Williams said. “Obviously, they’re trying to be careful, you know, make the smart decision. And, if the guys out there are rolling, they rolling. So, whether it’s 12 or, like you said, 30 (minutes), I’m there…I enjoy playing the game. Coming off the bench, I feel like I’ve been able to be decisive on where we need to insert energy, just watching everything. But, like I said, whether it’s starting or coming off the bench, I’m there.”