Majulla explains why Grant Williams didn't play in Celtics-Heat Game 1 originally appeared nbc sports boston
The Boston Celtics needed something to turn the tide in the third quarter of Game 1 against the miami heat on wednesday night, and it never came.
miami beat Boston 46-25 in the quarter and finally Took a 1-0 lead in the series by winning 123-116 In the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals.
Heat star Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 35 points on 12-for-25 shooting. He also made 9 of 10 free throw attempts. Similar to the previous season's Conference Finals matchup, Butler got any shots he wanted against the Celtics defense. Most of the Celtics attacked him — including malcolm brogdonDerrick white and Peyton Pritchard — couldn't slow down the forward momentum of the veteran.
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One player the Celtics did not use against Butler was Grant Williams. In fact, Williams did not play a single minute in the first game of the series.
It was an odd decision, to say the least, considering Williams is a good 3-point shooter and has the physical ability to compete with Butler on defense. Williams guarded Butler on plenty of possessions during the three regular season meetings between the Celtics and the Heat, so this is not an unfamiliar job for him.
Why not Williams in Game 1?
The Celtics head coach said, “We have a plan to use the depth we need to deliver a lineup that we feel can really help us.” Joe Majulla Said Thursday. “Obviously, with the expansion of minutes in the playoffs, you want to play seven or eight guys, which is what we've done the whole time.
“I thought Payton gave us an opportunity with his shooting, with his playmaking, with his pick and roll defense. Like I've said before, Grant's always going to be ready. And we've got a lot of versatility and a lot of potential in him.” Have built depth. Lineup where we can go a lot of different ways. We're confident that whoever we call upon will be ready.”
Last season, Williams averaged 30.4 minutes per game during the conference finals against the Heat. In Game 2, he scored 19 points on 5-for-7 shooting. He also hit seven of his eight free throw attempts. The Celtics beat the Heat by 37 points while Williams was on the floor, and they evened up the series with a 127–102 victory.
Giving Williams a similar role in Friday night's Game 2 would be a wise move by Majulla ahead of this crucial matchup.