Celtics’ Grant Williams said he’d make two critical free throws – then missed both
Celtics forward Grant Williams couldn’t back up his trash talk during Monday’s 118-114 overtime loss to the Cavaliers.
With less than a second left in the fourth quarter and the game tied at 109, Williams was fouled, making a pair of potential game-winning free throws.
Cameras captured a confident Williams at the free throw line telling Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell: “I’ll make both.”
That’s when Williams proceeded to miss both shots — and Celtics guard Marcus Smart missed a tip-in on the layup to send the game into overtime.
Williams’ first attempt hit in front of the rim and bounced.
His second attempt, in which Cleveland delayed Darius Garland to Isaac Okoro, bounced off the back of the rim.
It marked the first time that Williams — who is an 81.1 percent free throw shooter this season — was at the line during Monday’s contest.
The Cavaliers outscored the Celtics 9–5 in overtime to secure the victory, 118–114 – handing Boston its third-straight loss.
The Celtics led by as many as 15 points in the second and third quarters, and the Cavaliers were down by double digits with less than five minutes left in the fourth.
After the game, Mitchell — who finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds and four assists — confirmed to reporters that Williams did indeed say he would make both free throws.
“You just try to mess with him mentally and see what happens,” Mitchell said of his exchange with Williams. , so he’s going to make both free throws. He’s a good player, just trying to find a way to get in his head a little bit.”
Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla offered Williams a supportive message after the loss.
“Just tell him I love him,” Mazula said. “It’s part of the game. He didn’t lose them on purpose, just had to be able to move on from it. “
Williams finished with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting with four rebounds.
The Celtics (45-21) now sit two games back of the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks (46-18).
Cleveland is 4.5 games behind Milwaukee in fourth place with a 41-26 record.
The Celtics host the Trail Blazers on Wednesday.