May 29, 2023

Grant Williams Says Celtics ‘Have To Play Harder’ To Beat Heat


The Boston Celtics not only avoided elimination, but they also did it by dominating the Miami Heat in Game 5 on Thursday night.

From the opening tipoff, the Celtics took Miami out of their game rhythm and set the tone, according to Boston forward Grant Williams.

“Physicality on the defensive end from the start,” Williams told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin. “(Marcus) Smart set the tone on the first play of the game, which set our defense up for the rest of the game.”

Williams said it wasn’t just the fact the Celtics held Miami out of rhythm, but Boston also played great offensively and got rebounds, eliminating second-chance scoring for the Heat.

“Al (Horford) did a tremendous job attacking the offensive glass,” Williams said. “Myself, (Robert Williams III), Derrick (White), everybody’s just making sure that we get extra possessions and understanding that to beat this team, you have to play harder. You have to play hard as heck. And that’s our job.”

The C’s got balanced scoring across the court, with Jayson Tatum leading the way scoring 21 points to go along with 11 assists and eight rebounds. Williams noted that Tatum impacted the game on every level.

“He’s done a phenomenal job of just dissecting the defense. He’s doing a good job playing with pace, playing with poise, and really remembering exactly what we want to accomplish on that end of the ball,” Williams said. “And it’s not necessarily always gonna be him scoring. Sometimes it’s gonna be him passing even though he scored tonight; let’s just say there might be a game he doesn’t need to and everybody else takes care of him.”

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