By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — There are very few reasons to get excited for the Boston Celtics these days. But one of those reasons will be on the floor Wednesday night.READ MORE: Bruins Beat Rangers 4-0 For 5th Victory In 6 Games
No, we’re not talking about Jayson Tatum, who will be back after missing last night’s embarrassing loss to the Thunder. We’re talking about the return of Robert Williams, who is set to rejoin the Boston lineup when the C’s host the Charlotte Hornets. It will be Williams’ first game since April 13, as he’s missed the last seven contests with knee soreness.
And the Celtics really haven’t looked all that great during Williams’ seven-game absence. After winning three of four to start the stretch, Boston has lost three straight and four of its last five. Included in that stretch are horrible losses to the Bulls, Hornets and Tuesday night’s stinker against the tanking Thunder.READ MORE: Cordero Snaps Slump, Red Sox Hold On To Beat Tigers 12-9
That’s not to say that Williams will cure everything that has been bringing the Celtics down recently. They are a lot more than a big man away from being a good team, let alone a great one. But Boston plays with a whole lot more energy on both ends of the floor when Williams is out there, serving as a dynamic rim protector on defense and as a lob recipient on offense. The Celtics offense isn’t a boring, drab serving of vanilla ice cream when Williams is on the floor, and he gives them a big security blanket around the rim on defense.
Williams started 10 games after Boston traded Daniel Theis on deadline day (missing a game against Dallas), and the Celtics responded by going 8-2 during that stretch before the big man went down. Williams averaged 10.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and a pair of blocks over those 10 games, with Boston averaging 113.9 points while holding opponents to an average of 105.4 points per game.
Without Williams, the Celtics have looked somewhere between meh and abysmal. Overall this season, Boston is 6-9 when Williams doesn’t play, and 13-14 when he plays 20 minutes or less. The Celtics are 13-7 when Williams logs more than 20 minutes.MORE NEWS: Hurley: The NHL Has Embarrassed Itself With Rangers, Tom Wilson Situation
There’s just something about Robert Williams and the energy that be brings to the floor. That energy will be back Wednesday night, and hopefully it’s enough to spark the Celtics less than 24 hours after one of the team’s worst losses of the season.