Grant Williams, Jimmy Butler share reactions to dust-up in Game 2 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
With 6:22 left in the fourth quarter, Williams and Butler went face to face in a heated exchange that, at the time, fired up the TD Garden crowd. The Celtics were up nine points and appeared on the verge of tying the Eastern Conference Finals series at 1-1.
Williams and the C’s soon learned the hard way that Butler was the wrong guy to mess with.
Butler shot 4-for-5 from the floor in the fourth quarter with Williams as the primary defender. He led the way as the Heat went on a 26-9 run after the dust-up to earn a 111-105 win and take a 2-0 series lead.
Williams, who’s taking plenty of heat for “poking the bear” to spark Miami’s comeback, passionately addressed the incident after the loss.
“I think he said something and I just responded,” Williams told reporters. “I’m a competitor. I’m gonna battle. He got the best of me tonight. And at the end of the day, it’s out of respect because I’m not gonna run away from it. My mom always taught me, and my dad as well, you get your ass kicked, you don’t come back home until you come battle again. And you either come back before you die, or you go back and you go get a win.
“And I’m not willing to die in this (East) finals. I’m ready to (expletive) get a win. Ready to come back and come into Game 3 with a better mentality, and I know this team is as well. So at the end of the day, tonight is tonight. We gotta come in tomorrow and really focus on what’s next.”
Butler was asked during his postgame press conference whether the exchange with Williams fueled him for the final minutes of the fourth.
“Yes, it did. But that’s just competition at its finest,” he answered. “He hit a big shot, started talking to me. I like that. I’m all for that. It makes me key in a lot more and it pushes that will that I have to win a lot more and it makes me smile. It does. When people talk to me, I’m like, OK, I know I’m a decent player if you want to talk to me out of everybody that you can talk to.
“But I don’t know, it’s just competition. I do respect him though. He’s a big part of what they try to do. He switches, he can shoot the ball. I just don’t know if I’m the best person to talk to.”
Jimmy Butler says he’s probably not the best person for Grant Williams to get chippy with
He says the altercation with Williams fueled his fourth quarter burst pic.twitter.com/KownTdQohC
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 20, 2023
Other than a lapse of judgment in egging on Butler, it was a solid night for Williams after not playing in Game 1. He gave the Celtics an instant boost when he entered Friday’s game late in the first quarter. In 26 minutes, he tallied nine points to go with two rebounds, two assists, and a block.
Williams isn’t letting the nightmare fourth quarter change his mentality heading into a critical Game 3 in Miami.
“You expect to beat the best,” he said. “No matter if I lit him up or not, he’s going to do that. For me, it’s a matter of understanding that yeah, sure, you did poke a bear quote-unquote. And how are you going to respond? Because for me, he made some tough shots, I battled, and I’m going to keep battling. He’s gonna have to make every single tough shot the rest of the series and I’m not gonna turn and look otherwise because I respect him as a (expletive) player. He’s a great man, great person, great human being. I’ve known him for a while.
“But at the end of the day, this team, we have a real decision to make and that decision is gonna be, are we gonna come back and really set the tone on the rest of this year and really make a statement, or are we gonna come out and lay down? And I don’t think this team is built for laying down.”
The Celtics will look to avoid falling into an 0-3 hole when the series shifts to South Beach on Sunday night. Tip-off for Game 3 at Kaseya Center is set for 8:30 p.m. ET.
Source: Yahoo Sports