Celtics expect Robert Williams ready for opener; Stevens gushes about 76ers

Celtics expect Robert Williams ready for opener; Stevens gushes about 76ers

NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers starts at 6:30pm Wednesday with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 7:30pm.

BOSTON — Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the team is hoping that second-year big man Robert Williams will be cleared to play in Wednesday’s season-opener against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Williams has been navigating the NBA’s return-to-play protocol after displaying concussion-like symptoms after getting elbowed in the head during Boston’s preseason finale in Cleveland. 

“Rob, it sounds like will be clear for [Wednesday],” said Stevens. “I don’t have that official but he went through everything without issues.”

Stevens noted the team didn’t do any live contact Tuesday but it appeared Williams could be cleared if he had no setbacks.

One day after missing practice due to illness, Gordon Hayward was back on the court for Boston’s morning workout before the team flew to Philadelphia. Rookie Romeo Langford was ruled out for Wednesday’s opener while still working his way back from a knee sprain suffered in the preseason.

Stevens also noted that two-way player Tacko Fall “went most of practice,” and is navigating his way back through the return-to-play protocol after suffering concussion symptoms as well after a freak accident last week.

One thing Stevens wouldn’t divulge is how the Celtics will match up against the Sixers and their size-filled frontline.

“I guess we could start three of our 7-footers but I don’t know if we’re going to do that,” said Stevens. "We’ll see. We’re not going to be as big as them no matter who we put on the court so we’re not going to adjust that much. We may make small tweaks and adjustments but this is about getting ready for an 82-game season. I think, ultimately, you’re trying to be the best version of yourself. And if we’re smaller in certain areas we’re going to have to be well-spaced and use our speed.”

For the second straight day, Stevens gushed about the Sixers and their potential this season.

"I don’t know that there’s a more talented basketball team in the NBA,” said Stevens. "I think we’re all excited [for the challenge]. As we all talked about in film, we’re getting ready to embark on a long, long journey. Whatever happens over the first week, two weeks, months, different weeks go by, we can’t overreact good or bad. Getting a chance to compete at a high level, we know [Wednesday] night is a great opportunity to play a really good team.”

Forsberg & Blakely's NBA playoff predictions for 2019-20>>>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Bryce Brown his franchise 3's record in Red Claws loss

USA TODAY Sports Images

Bryce Brown his franchise 3's record in Red Claws loss

The Maine Red Claws were in action at home at the Portland Expo Center on Saturday night hosting the Delaware Blue Coats, taking a 128-123 loss to fall to 7-4 and fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Tacko Fall wasn’t in action, but Bryce Brown was simply furious, leading all scorers with 43 points 15 of 17 from the floor overall and a franchise single-game record 11 of 11 three-pointers. Tremont Waters was terrific, too, with 18 points and 11 assists.



Brown, an undrafted free agent who helped lead Auburn to its first Final Four appearance last spring, was simply unconscious for the Claws. He shot a perfect 11 of 11 from three-point range to give him an absurd effective field goal percentage of 1.2 for the game.


Waters, the Connecticut native, was crafty in his distribution, with just four turnovers to go with his 11 assists.

Yante Maten (18 points), Vincent Poirier (18) and Justin Bibbs (10) also scored in double-figures for the Red Claws.


The Red Claws return to action Friday in Des Moines, Iowa to face the Iowa Wolves, with tipoff at 8 p.m. ET.

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Cavaliers, which tips off Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

Happy birthday, Larry Bird!

Happy birthday, Larry Bird!

Anytime is a good time to watch highlights of the greatness that was Larry Bird playing for the Celtics.

But on Larry Legend's 63rd birthday? It's time to break out the best of No. 33...

The fight with Dr. J in 1984:

The 60-point game against the Hawks in '85:

The steal against Isiah Thomas and the Pistons in '87:

The "you are watching was greatness is all about" duel with Dominique Wilkins in '88:


Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Cavaliers, which tips off Monday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Tommy & Mike have the call at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.