Grant Williams’ Historic Shooting Night Fuels Celtics’ Game Seven

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    Former Tennessee superstar Grant Williams broke out of the role player mold on Sunday afternoon and created an unforgettable playoff moment for himself and his team.

    “Grant [Williams] won us a playoff game tonight,” Celtics star guard Jayson Tatum said after the Celtics’ win on Sunday. “A Game 7.”

    Entering Sunday’s Game 7 against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks, Williams was averaging 9.4 points per game over the first 10 games of the playoffs with three double-digit scoring games. But when all of the cards were on the table and his back was against the wall on Sunday, Williams showed up and showed out.

    Grant Williams finished Boston’s Game 7 contest as the Celtics’ leading scorer with 27 points on 7-18 three-point shooting. Williams didn’t just lead the Celtics in scoring, though, but also had two more points than Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and led the entire game as well.

    “Call him Grant Curry now,” Williams’ teammate Jaylen Brown said after the game, comparing Grant Williams’ three-point shooting ability to that of superstar Steph Curry.

    Speaking of Curry, ironically enough, that’s the perfect player to be talking about after this game. With seven three-pointers hit on Sunday, Celtics forward Grant Williams tied Steph Curry for the most three-pointers hit during a Game 7 in NBA history with seven. In addition, the Celtics’ 22 three-pointers made in the game is also a franchise playoff record, which wouldn’t have been possible without Williams’ hot shooting.

    “Milwaukee’s defense, I don’t understand how you allow Grant Williams, a 41-percent shooter from three in the regular season, a 41-percent shooter from three in the playoffs, to have 17 stand-still looks,” ESPN analyst and former professional player J.J. Redick said on Monday’s First Take. “Seventeen line-you-up, practice shots. Nine feet away – average distance of the closest defender when he caught the ball. That is ridiculous!”

    See Also from RTI: WATCH – Grant Williams is Having Fun Mic’d Up In the Playoffs

    Reddick also explained that he wasn’t counting Williams’ 18th attempt because it was at the end of the shot clock and not a traditional shot. Semantics, essentially.

    With the amount of attention the Bucks’ defense was giving to Tatum and some of the other Celtics’ players, Williams was in a position where he had to step up and make his shots because that was what Milwaukee was going to give to Boston. And after taking a minute to find his groove in the first half, Williams hit the scene in a big way in the second half.

    Grant Williams ended the game with 27 points, six rebounds, and only one turnover in Boston’s most significant game of the year to date.

    Williams’ big performance in Sunday’s win-or-go-home atmosphere is reminiscent of his times playing in the NCAA Tournament with Tennessee. Going back to the 2019 NCAA Tournament during Williams’ final year in Knoxville, the former Vol star had big performances in two of Tennessee’s three win-or-go-home tournament games.

    In the Vols’ second-round win against Iowa, Williams finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Then, in Tennessee’s Sweet 16 loss to Purdue that next weekend, Williams ended the final game of his Volunteer career with 21 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Tennessee teammate Admiral Schofield also scored 21 in the contest, but both players fell short of Purdue’s Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline with 29 and 27 points respectively.

    With the Celtics’ win on Sunday in Game 7 against the defending champions, Boston and Grant Williams will now turn their attention to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference FInals starting this upcoming Tuesday.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.