BOSTON — Robert Williams played only 19 minutes in the Celtics’ 102-82 win over the Heat in Game 4 on Monday night. But he made a huge impact in that short amount of time.
That is no surprise given Williams is most commonly known as the “Time Lord.”
Williams returned to action after sitting out Game 3 with knee soreness, and he dominated in his time on the floor. He was 4-for-5 from the floor for 12 points, and he eventually put in that lone miss to give the Celtics some fifth-chance points early in the second quarter. His presence meant that the Celtics had their lob threat back on offense, and they took full advantage.
Al Horford lofted a pass to Williams early in the game, which he happily slammed down to give the Celtics an early 10-1 lead. From that point on, Miami had do what they could to keep Williams from finishing any more lobs, opening the floor for everyone else.
Williams also pulled down nine rebounds and blocked a pair of shots, sending back attempts by PJ Tucker and Jimmy Butler. He was a mammoth factor on defense, changing numerous attempts by the Heat. Miami shot a woeful 33 percent from the field.
Bam Adebayo was pretty much non-existent for Miami (though, most of the Heat players were non-existent from an offensive standpoint in Game 4) and Williams was a huge factor in that. After Adebayo took full advantage of Williams’ absence and exploded for 31 points in Game 3, the Heat big man had just nine points on Monday, taking only five shots throughout the game.
With the Celtics’ lead hovering around 30 points, Williams got the majority of the second half off in Game 4. Ime Udoka said that was just a precautionary move, given Williams’ fussy knee since he came back from meniscus surgery in the first round.
That should mean that Williams is good to go for Wednesday night’s Game 5 in Miami, but the Celtics will wait to see how the knee responds before making an official ruling. Williams said that he felt great after Monday night’s win though, and more importantly, he said that his knee felt great.
The issue has been swelling, and with a trip to South Beach probably won’t help. Williams will likely be listed as questionable yet again for Wednesday night’s tilt.
But he had no doubts that he’d be in the lineup for Game 5 following Monday night’s win.
“Obviously a great feeling being out there, being back with my guys,” said Williams. “The knee felt great, feels good. Obviously just take a look at it tomorrow and see how it’s feeling recovery-wise.
“Coming out of this game, there no doubts in my head. I feel good for [Game 5],” he added.
Williams said his Game 3 absence wasn’t a pain issue, but had more to do with the soreness limiting what he could do on the floor.
“Once you have an injury, it’s rare that you feel no pain. It’s just reading if I’m limited to doing certain things,” he explained. “I don’t want to have a lot of limitations when I’m out there.”
He wasn’t limited on Monday, and his presence rendered the Heat offense pretty useless under the basket. Boston outscored Miami 38-28 in the paint, and the Celtics crushed the Heat in the rebounding battle, 60-39. Williams pulled down five of Boston’s 14 offensive rebounds on the night.
“Just upping the effort and everything,” Williams said of that disparity on the boards. “We felt like last game they destroyed us obviously on the boards, so we just wanted to build up the effort all around.”
After getting crushed in Game 3, the Celtics responded in a big way in Game 4 to tie the series 2-2. A lot of Boston’s dominance stemmed from Williams being back on the floor.