On this episode of First to the Floor, Ben, Jake, and I hopped on right after the buzzer of the Celtics-Warriors overtime classic to document what it looks like when three mid-thirties men suffer from stress induced delirium. The entire episode, and game really, was all a bit of a blur, but I seem to recall us talking about the game, some trade rumors, and whether or not the Jays will start the All-Star Game together. Most importantly though, we broke down what makes all the difference when the Celtics square off against the Warriors, Robert Williams.
The Time Lord tallied 14 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and about a billion shot contests (this may not be the exact figure, but it’s got to be close). Rob being a difference maker, especially against Golden State, probably shouldn’t be a surprise. He led the Celtics in net rating in the Finals last year at +6.4. The next closest was Payton Pritchard, who only saw 11 minutes a game (and some of them garbage time) at 3.8, while no starter was above a .5 net rating. The crazy part: he was playing on one and a half legs last summer.
Rob is the key to the Warriors matchup. Game 3 was, imo, his healthiest game in the finals. He dominated on both ends...and absolutely stole Draymond's lunch money.— Jake Issenberg (@jakeissenberg) January 19, 2023
8/10/3/4/4 - team high +21 pic.twitter.com/W7cGvVqIOs
While the plus-minus doesn’t agree, I thought Rob was massively impactful in his 27 minutes last night. He was an absolute monster on the glass with seven (SEVEN!) offensive rebounds. He was regularly snatching boards while surrounded by multiple Warriors.
Importantly, and regardless of the defense, he often showed a soft touch; able to turn those offensive rebounds into points.
His effort on the defensive end, especially in the third quarter where the Warriors threatened to put the game away, was contagious. While several Celtics let go of the rope, there was Rob Williams, a one main anchor at the back of the line, regularly corralling ballhandlers, forcing them to pass out of drives, or somehow contesting Curry pull-ups despite being in a deep drop position.
Rob showed us what most of us already knew: he’s an absolute game changer and ceiling raiser for this team. There’s no opponent where this is truer than against than the Warriors, and I’m so very glad he’s back.
I hope you enjoy this episode and apologize for how... scattered... our thoughts were. We recorded immediately after the final buzzer. So, while it’s not our most organized work, it is raw, uncut emotion after that rollercoaster of a win. Please subscribe to the CelticsBlog podcast feed and the First to the Floor YouTube channel (we are so close to 1k!!), and thanks for listening!