Robert Williams played most of the third quarter, logging just over ten minutes and scoring ten points, the most for the team in that span.
But in the final frame, Williams was absent. On Saturday, when asked why in the fourth quarter he didn’t face one of the most impactful individuals in this series, Ime Udoka expressed the following.
“With Rob, overall he was playing solid. It wasn’t anything physical, it was more about Al hitting all three and making big plays there.”
Al Horford’s three Udoka referring to tie the game at 94 with 5:31 remaining. As Derrick White takes the ball halfway on this play, you can see Williams next to Udoka at the goalscoring table.
But after Horford hit that three, his only field goal of the night, Udoka decided not to hand Williams over. As difficult as it would have been, perhaps the answer was to go back to what the Celtics did in Game 5. the game with White on the floor but not Marcus Smart. a
Smart is suffering from a sprained right ankle, and while he didn’t push the pace offensively, the main issue wasn’t his mobility. He couldn’t make the Heat pay for regularly leaving him open as they forced the ball out of the hands of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, with two combinations to take seven shots in the second half.
Smart’s 15 field goal attempts were the most in Boston. They were more than anyone other than Jimmy Butler, who is a 47-point masterpiece, reminiscent of what LeBron James did to the Celtics in Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, came on 29 attempts.
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As for Smart, the Celtics’ ground general went 4/15 (26.7%) from the field, including 1/9 (11.1%) from beyond the arc, finishing with 14 points. Maybe his ankle injury played a part in his poor shooting.
If that happens in Game 7, as long as Williams is available, Udoka’s best option might be to rely on the group that closed out Game 5 in Miami.
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