INDIANAPOLIS — Boston Celtics big man Robert Williams arrived in Indianapolis prior to the Celtics’ game against the Indiana Pacers at 9 a.m. after a long day previously, a long evening and a long morning.
Williams, for whom travel has been notoriously difficult at times, drove up to Maine the day prior for a game in Portland with the Red Claws. He played 24 minutes for the Red Claws in a 95-92 loss to the Westchester Knicks — posting 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots (with many other shots altered).
Then at 4 a.m., Williams rose and headed to the Portland airport. According to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, Williams nearly missed his flight from Maine to Detroit, and then he nearly missed his connecting flight from Detroit to Indiana.
Robert Williams headed to the Portland airport at about 4 a.m. and flew through Detroit to get to Indy just after 9 and said he almost missed both flights. BUT HE DIDN’T.
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) November 3, 2018
Safely in Indianapolis prior to Saturday’s 102-101 loss, Williams said he was appreciative of the experience in the G-League.
“We lost, but it was obviously fun going out there, playing with everybody and just getting a feel down there because I’m definitely hoping to spend more time down there just to get my reps up,” Williams said. “It was a good situation.”
Unlike Boston, where Williams’ minutes are limited by situation, he got a chance to really stretch his legs on a basketball court for the first time since his last game at Texas A&M — even Williams’ summer league was cut short by tendinitis.
“Hell yeah,” he said, when asked if the additional minutes felt good. “Hell yeah. It was nice to stay out there for a couple seconds with the restrictions, still a little bit of a restriction, but (expletive), it felt great honestly.”
Williams said he is still slightly restricted due to the tendinitis that ended his Summer League. The team continues to monitor his health closely, since they have no reason to push him.
Despite a performance that impressed Celtics staffers, Williams thought he could be better.
“One of my things last night was putting an emphasis on defense, trying to lead that team on defense,” Williams said. “Could have did a way better job from my perspective. That’s just something I took into action when I went down there.”
But while Williams said he liked Maine, he could probably do without the early mornings.
“Yeah, um,” he said, and he paused for several seconds when asked about the travel. “It was terrible. Early flights, but (expletive), it was worth it. I’m here.”