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Boston Celtics’ Robert Williams misheard coaches and fouled Paul Millsap intentionally

PHOENIX — In the third quarter of the Boston Celtics’ 115-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday, Robert Williams was inserted into the lineup to hack Mason Plumlee — a poor free-throw shooter. 

Williams did his job, and Plumlee missed both free throws. The Nuggets returned the favor, fouling Williams who went 1-for-2. During his brief run, Williams made a couple of nice plays — grabbing a pair of rebounds and throwing down a big dunk off one offensive board.

“Honestly the rebound felt better than the dunk,” Williams said. “Just jumping to get the rebounds, I take pride in that. I felt like we were lacking rebounds that game so I wanted to put an emphasis on it. But like I said, just another confidence booster.”

Williams did make one rookie mistake. After Plumlee was removed from the game, he was given the assignment to guard Paul Millsap. Williams started guarding him normally, but inexplicably appeared to intentionally foul him. Millsap is a career 73.4 percent free-throw shooter, and he made both shots.

Why did Williams commit the foul?

“That was actually a miscommunication,” Williams said. “I thought I heard ‘foul him’ but it was ‘solid.’ It was just so loud in the arena. But that’s something I’ve gotta clean up on, like I said.”

Still, Williams appreciated getting a brief opportunity during real game minutes.

“It’s a big confidence booster obviously,” he said. “It let me know what I need to improve on areas that I thought I was OK at. I messed up a couple defensive plays, offensive plays. But it gave me a chance to get my feet wet.”

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