If you were holding out hope for an improbably Robert Williams Game 1 return, I have bad news for you. If you expected Rob Williams to be out but were hoping to not hear of any surprise issues, then you’re in luck. Boston has a clean injury report outside of the starting center’s absence due to right meniscus surgery ahead of Game 1.
#NEBHInjuryReport for Game 1 vs. Brooklyn:— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 16, 2022
Robert Williams (left knee meniscal tear) - OUT
Al Horford played in the season finale, but he did note previously that he was dealing with some back issues. Those problems appear to be solved after the rest and treatment he received over the last week. Horford noted that he’s “doing fine” and will be ready to go tomorrow.
The Boston Celtics will have had an entire week off since the regular season finale before suiting up tomorrow afternoon for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals. Boston owns home-court advantage as the second seed while facing off against the winners of the Play-In game, the seventh-seeded Brooklyn Nets. After the Nets eliminated the injury-decimated Celtics last year, this is prime opportunity for vengeance for
Batman Grant Williams and the Celtics.
The mood from after practice today was jittery in a positive way, with the team itching to get back on the court after a week off. Head coach Ime Udoka admitted as much when he said, “You can tell the group is ready to play . . . you start to get a little jittery and ready to play after this much time off and knowing what’s coming up. So you can feel the anticipation and our guys are ready to roll.”
Coach Udoka says of Game 1 tomorrow: “We do want to set the tone and let them know who we are.”— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 16, 2022
Udoka made it clear that the Celtics don’t want to let the Nets get comfortable with their game – basically engaging the Cs in a shootout. Instead, he wants Boston to remain focused on what it does well. As the league’s most dominant defense this season, it’s clear on which side of the floor the Celtics should be locked in.
The players echoed Udoka’s assessment of the energy today, with Marcus Smart admitting that they just “want to go out to go out and we want to hoop.”
“So when you’re so used to playing every other day, back-to-backs – you have a full week, it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going on? Things feel different.’ But it’s there. The energy is there,” Smart added.
What did other players on the roster think of Bruce Brown’s suggestion that the Celtics will be food for the Nets in the paint without Robert Williams? Al Horford started his response with a laugh.
Al Horford on Bruce Brown's comments: "(laughs) I'm excited to get going tomorrow. My stuff gets done on the floor. We're looking forward to the challenge as a whole."— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) April 16, 2022
Marcus Smart added that because of his friendship with Brown, he expected to hear that kind of talk from the Nets forward. However, Smart echoed KD’s comments that “it’s not gonna be that easy” against Boston’s frontcourt.
A lot of words have been said by both teams over the last few days, so it’s finally time for action. The Celtics and the Nets take the court for Game 1 tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m. EST.