Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Jaylen Brown offers support to Grant Williams following missed free throws in Celtics loss to Cavs

The Celtics had an opportunity to get a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers before heading into overtime Monday night.

Grant Williams missed two clutch free throws with 0.8 seconds left in regulation, despite engaging in a back-and-forth with All-Star Donovan Mitchell, apparently claiming he was 'going to make both.' 

Unfortunately, Marcus Smart couldn't get the tip-in off of Williams' second missed free throw as the buzzer sounded and the C's ended up with a 118-114 loss in OT.
"Yeah, he did (say he was going to make both.) We have a PA call on Thursday, I think it is, or Friday. So I was just like, let's just miss one and talk about it and see what happens," Mitchell said during his postgame comments. "He gave us both, and I almost lost us the game. I didn't box out Marcus Smart and he came in for the tip…Thank God he missed them and we got the win."
Williams had a bounce back performance against the Cavs, his first decent outing since the All-Star break, finishing with 12 points on 4-of-5 from 3-point range in 16 minutes off the bench. Over the past seven games, Williams' playing time has fluctuated, including getting a coach's decision DNP against this very same Cleveland roster the Celtics beat 117-113 just last week.

Jaylen Brown, who earlier this season went through a similar experience of missing free throws that could have effected an outcome of a game, offered some words of encouragement to Williams as he believes that his recent struggles will only help him grow as a player.
 "Yeah, it happens," Brown said in his postgame presser, "I've been in that position before, and that's what should fuel you into being better. You can’t let it be a spirit-breaker. Grant has had a great career. And the reason why he's been successful is because of his confidence. And now is one of the moments where his confidence is going to be tested. A lot of people are now seeing some of the adversity that he's going through, and you got to respond as a man. You got to be better. You can't let it take you down. You can look at it and go two different ways -- you can go up, or you can go down. And I want him to go up."
Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla also addressed Williams missed free throws by simply sending the veteran big man a message of support going forward.
"Tell him I love him. It's part of the game. He didn't miss them on purpose. Just gotta be able to move on from it," Mazzulla said to reporters Monday.
Williams, 24, is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, leading to multiple reports and rumors of potential contract discussions.

According to The Athletic, Williams turned down a contract extension last offseason worth roughly $50 million for four years.
"Williams' representatives and the team discussed an extension before the season that could have reached the low-$50 million range over four seasons but could not agree on the guarantee structure, league sources with knowledge of the negotiations said," the report stated.
Either way, Williams has had his best season so far averaging, 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in a career-best 27.3 minutes while shooting 40.8% from deep in 64 games played.

With no timetable on when Robert Williams may return from his latest hamstring injury, look for Grant Williams to get back into Mazzulla's graces in the upcoming weeks as the 45-21 Celtics continue to fight for the No. 1 seed in the East. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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