After an electric several months being a Boston Celtics fan, things have slowly started coming back to earth today.
The Celtics are 22-3 in their last 25 games, have not lost back-to-back games since the middle of January, and – after beating down on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night, are the one-seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time this season.
And that’s not the story today.
That’s because unfortunately, Boston lost their starting center Robert Williams to a torn meniscus on Sunday.
ESPN Sources: Celtics C Robert Williams has suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee and will minimally miss several weeks. Further evaluation today will help provide a timetable. Boston moved into first-place Sunday, and Williams has been immense part of NBA’s best defense.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 28, 2022
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Williams ranks first out of 169 players who have defends 500-plus shorts as the closest defender – holding opponents to under 40% shooting. He is averaging 10 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game in his break out season in green.
The Celtics – who are currently fourth on BetOnline.ag’s odds list to win the NBA Finals at +675, will have to go back to the drawing board in order to fill the gap that Williams will leave. Take a look at BOL’s current top ten to win the 2022 title:
Odds to win NBA Finals
Phoenix Suns +300
Brooklyn Nets +600
Milwaukee Bucks +650
Boston Celtics +675
Golden State Warriors +700
Philadelphia 76ers +1000
Miami Heat +1200
Memphis Grizzlies +1800
Utah Jazz +2200
Denver Nuggets +3300
The good news is, you can argue Williams isn’t even in the top three for “Most Important Celtics”. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart seem to the the true nucleus of this team – and they’ll all have to step up in Williams absence.
We all know the story of Tatum this season, but Smart has truly been incredible. He is currently the favorite to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award according to BetOnline.ag, holding +200 odds, and has played a major role in the Celtics NBA-leading defense.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year
Marcus Smart +200
Bam Adebayo +225
Mikal Bridges +250
Rudy Gobert +375
Giannis Antetokounmpo +1400
Jaren Jackson Jr. +1800
As the regular season dwindles down over the next few weeks, we’ll get a close look at how Boston can handle the loss of Williams.
Here’s to hoping he’s back in time for a dominant Celtics playoff run.
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