On Monday night, the Boston Celtics took down the Miami Heat in dominating fashion, winning 102-82. Boston held the Heat to their lowest point total of the series, playing suffocating defense without their Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart, who was out with an ankle sprain.
However, Boston’s other All-Defensive guy made his return to the lineup. After missing Game 3, Robert Williams III took the court again in Game 4, making his presence felt. After the contest, the Celtics big man talked about his injury and how it felt to play again.
“Obviously, a great feeling of being out there. Being back on my guys,” Williams said. “The knee feels great, you know, feels good. Obviously, just checking on it tomorrow, see how it’s feeling recovery-wise.”
Williams played less than 19 minutes in Game 4 due to aggravating his knee injury. He blocked Jimmy Butler’s layup attempt a couple of minutes into the third quarter and seemingly banged knees with the Heat star. Williams limped up and down the court for a few minutes before Ime Udoka subbed him out with 7:26 remaining in the third.
However, despite the early exit, Williams said that he’s still feeling good about the injury.
Williams on Knee Injury: ‘No Doubts’
During his post-game press conference, Williams also discussed how his knee feels, explaining what exactly has been happening and his status moving forward.
“It’s swelling a little bit, stiffening up on me a little,” Williams explained. “I’m taking it day by day, spending a lot of time to trainers, obviously Throwing a lot of scenarios at it you know to see hot it responds.”
When asked about whether or not he’d be able to play in Game 5, Williams said that they “usually wait until the next day to see if it’s swelling or anything.” Williams also added that after playing in Game 4, “there are no doubts in [his] head” about playing in the rest of the series and that “it felt good playing.”
In his shortened minutes in Game 4, Williams put on a show. He dropped 12 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks on an efficient 4-for-5 shooting night. More than anything, though, Boston needed his presence on the defensive side of the floor.
After getting punched in the mouth in Game 3, with Miami scoring 39 points in the first quarter, getting Williams back gave the Celtics a huge spark. The young center said that he used his time off to study the defensive mistakes Boston made without him on the court.
Williams on Celtics’ Defense: ‘Noticed the Slip-Ups’
Although Williams did not play in Game 3, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t engaged. He said that he spent the time watching Boston’s defense, taking note of his team’s slip-ups. In turn, he helped correct them in Game 4.
“Last game, even though I didn’t play, I noticed the slip-ups that we had on the defensive end, and that’s where we hang our hat at,” Williams stated.
The Heat scored 127 points on Saturday in Game 3, the most they’ve scored in a game this postseason and the most the Celtics have allowed during the playoffs. However, with Williams back in the lineup, Boston held Miami to just 82 points, including an 11-point first quarter.
When asked about what changes the team made, Williams said that it was simply a matter of communication and sticking together.
“Being where we’re supposed to be when we’re supposed to be there. Not reacting late, trying to slide over late,” Williams explained. “Sticking to the defensive plan and holding each other accountable, you know, being able to take criticism and keep pushing.”
The series will head back to Miami tied for Game 5, which takes place on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. The game can be streamed on ESPN.