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Must Cs: Celtics reunion with Grant Williams provides many memories in win over Mavericks

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum made sure to make it a party against their former teammate.

Boston Celtics v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

“You know, not really,” Jaylen Brown deadpanned after a win in Houston when asked if he was excited to see Grant Williams the following night. In their first meeting since Williams left Boston for Dallas after signing a four-year, $54 million deal with the Mavericks, the Celtics won 119-110 over their former teammate.

“I love Grant, so I’m sure he’ll be ready to have an annoying game. We just have to come out and be the best version of ourselves.”

On the second night of a back-to-back against a Mavs team that hadn’t played in four days, the game devolved into a slog between a team with a lack of rest and another with rust to kick off. And at the buzzer, Brown was proven prophetic; he and Tatum would combine for 73 points as that "best version of ourselves" for their 29th time scoring 30+ each. The team is 27-2 in those games.

However, before tipoff, it was all hugs and handshakes between them. The former first round draft picks from 2016, 2017, and 2019 -- Robert Williams was picked in 2018 and now in Portland -- went to two Eastern Conference Finals and a Finals trip in 2022 and that bond will always be there.

But now on opposing teams, it was all business between the lines. To end to the first half, Tatum violently blocked Williams on a buzzer-beating attempt from half court. With Grant splayed out on the floor, JT stared him down, said something, and walked into the locker room at halftime.

"Yeah, I tried to kick that s#!%,” Tatum said of the swat. “I ain’t gonna lie.”

“I can’t repeat what I said, but he knows our friendly, competitive nature, but I had to get that one off.”

Later in the third, Williams returned the favor, bear hugging Brown after he was beat off the dribble in transition.

“I anticipated that coming. Grant was going to try to be Grant,” Brown said. “A couple of plays, I think he was a little extra, but it’s all love. I know he’s trying to help his team win. He’s been doing that a lot for them this season. That’s kind of how he made a name for himself. I wish him the best. As their season continues to go forward, I’m sure they’re going to need a little bit more of that. I think Grant is just trying to get his team going. That’s all it is.”

Williams would finish the reunion with 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and that personal foul.

But in the end, it’s all love between the former Celtic and current Celtics. While the business of basketball has players changing teams and cities because of opportunity and happenstance, the brotherhood lasts forever.

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