Robert Williams makes history with his first career triple-double in Celtics’ win over Suns

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The Boston Celtics’ frustrating season hit a new low earlier this week when they lost a double-digit lead to a Minnesota Timberwolves team that lacked all of their starting lineup, then followed that up with a historically poor shooting performance. to 3 points in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

With the league-leading Phoenix Suns in town on Friday, it looked like things could get worse. Instead, the Celtics came out with all kinds of energy and hit a double-digit lead at the end of the first quarter. They never looked back after that and led up to 30 points as they headed for a 123-108 win.

Considering the opponent, the fact that they were playing without Jayson Tatum (COVID-19 protocols) and how they controlled almost the entire game, this was arguably the Celtics’ best performance of the season. And that came in large part thanks to Robert Williams III, who put in one of the best performances of his career.

Williams was everywhere on both sides of the ball, finishing with 10 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, five blocks and two steals in a truly dominant performance. Despite completing a few interceptions ahead of a much-vaunted 5×5 game, he recorded the first triple-double of his career. He joined reigning MVP Nikola Jokic as the only other center to achieve a triple-double this season and became the ninth player in NBA history to achieve a triple-double while shooting 100% on field.

As usual, Williams went about his business in style, submitting a number of highlight plays. In the first quarter, he crushed the glass for this ridiculous slam. After four more offensive rebounds on Friday, Williams is now fourth in the league in this category, averaging 3.9 per game. His ability to attack offensive glass and create additional possessions is vital for a Celtics team that struggles with shooting.

He also showed off his defensive skills with five blocks, including this one on Devin Booker. Including his five blocks against the Suns, Williams is now averaging 1.9 per game, which is a career high and good for fifth place in the league.

But for all of his brilliant athletic moments, perhaps the most notable aspect of Williams’ game was his passing. Although he averages less than two assists per game, it has more to do with Williams’ lack of time on the ball than his passing abilities. “He’s more than what people think,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said.

Williams’ vision and feel is actually pretty impressive for a big man, and if you watch the Celtics regularly you’ll notice that he often makes clean passes to cutters – like here at Marcus Smart, for example.

The emergence of Williams has been one of the clear bright spots for the Celtics this season. He’s reached career highs across the board with 10 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.9 blocks per game. And if he had enough shooting attempts to qualify, his field goal percentage of 74.4 would lead the league. Better yet, the Celtics believe Williams can do even better. Due to injuries, he has only played 160 career games so far – less than two full seasons.

“He believes in me a lot,” Williams said of Udoka. “I am grateful for the way he pushes me every day.”

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