Celtics

The real reason why Robert Williams missed start of second half vs. Heat

Celtics
Robert Williams Grant Williams

Robert Williams played an excellent first half for the Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night, grabbing six rebounds and blocking two shots while helping Boston limit the Miami Heat to just 42 points through two quarters.

The Celtics big man has been battling left knee soreness, though, so it was a little concerning when he was nowhere to be found to start the second half, with Grant Williams taking his place on the floor.

Fortunately for Boston, Robert Williams returned to the bench early in the third quarter and went on to play 13 minutes in the second half, finishing with six points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the Celtics' 93-80 victory.

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So, why the delayed start to Williams' second half? The player who replaced him, Grant Williams, thought nature came calling for his teammate.

"He was in the bathroom I think," Grant Williams told NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin after the game.

Celtics fans would take that explanation if it meant nothing was wrong with Robert Williams' knee. But head coach Ime Udoka offered a different (and more likely) explanation for why Time Lord was late to the second-half action.

 

"He just got a extra stretch at halftime," Udoka said of Robert Williams. "Kind of uncommon, but he just wanted an extra stretch and (we) gave him a little more time and went with Grant to start the third. But nothing specific, just a little overall body tightness or cramping or whatever."

Udoka said before Wednesday's game that Williams will be "day-to-day the rest of the playoffs" due to his knee soreness, so the Celtics will need to do whatever it takes to keep him on the floor. If that means giving him some extra time to stretch at halftime (and perhaps use the bathroom while he's at it), then so be it.

Williams made a huge impact on the defensive end in Game 5, and he'd give the Celtics a big boost if he's able to play Friday night in a potential series-clinching Game 6 at TD Garden.