Grant Williams registered his first DNPCD in two years on Wednesday night as the Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 117- 114 in Boston.
Head coach Joe Mazzulla elected not to play Grant in this game, leaving all of us baffled as to why. After the game, he said it was strictly a matchup decision, to which I don’t buy.
“Just matchups on the offensive end, as far as spacing the floor and having rim protection.”
Grant is arguably one of the top defenders on the team and is considered elite comparably to other players around the league, as we’ve seen him lock down Kevin Durant and Giannis when it mattered most.
Mike Muscala logged 11 minutes as the only big man to come off the bench. If Mazzulla is being honest, Muscala spaces the floor more than Grant. However, I’d argue there’s a drop in defensive production as Grant is the more versatile option on that end.
It’s hard not to think Mazzulla is sending a message to Grant by doing this. It shows that there’s other options for the Celtics to turn to with the amount of depth to that position group.
There’s also the injury variable, as Grant could be nursing an arm injury that’s been lingering for a while. However, Muscala was dealing with a knee injury and still made it on the court, so it’s hard to gauge right now.
Grant’s DNPCD could have been surprising for the players, as Jaylen Brown said this after the game:
“He knows what he brings to this team and the type of player he is. He’s able to carve value out in this league. Grant has helped us to win playoff games. Grant has helped us get to the Finals last year. Obviously we’re going to need him.”
Grant is an integral component to the Celtics finished product. He needs to get back on track for the Celtics to make a deep playoff run this season.
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