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Trio of Vols Battling It Out in Second Round NBA Playoff Action

Tobias Harris Grant Williams
Former Tennessee players Tobias Harris and Grant Williams battling in the NBA Playoffs. Photo via Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) on Twitter.

While the second-round NBA Playoffs series between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers is loaded up with superstars from the league, there’s also a small handful of Tennessee players battling it out.

Longtime NBA veteran Tobias Harris is still rolling with the 76ers in his fifth year in Philly and his 12th year in the NBA after being drafted in 2011. Alongside Harris on the Philadelphia roster is former Tennessee one-and-done freshman Jaden Springer.

Across the court from Harris and Springer is Grant Williams with the Celtics in his fourth year in the NBA.

While all three were in the building on Monday night in Boston, only Harris had extended minutes in the game. Harris, as a starter for the 76ers, had 18 points, five rebounds, and three assists in 42 minutes on the court. No one from the 76ers had more time on the floor than Harris during Phildelphia’s 119-115 opening victory.

Springer found a small backup role with the 76ers during the month of March. The former Tennessee guard averaged 3.9 minutes and 0.9 points per game over the span of seven games that month.

Philadelphia chose to bench all five of their starting players in the penultimate game of the regular season against the Atlanta Hawks on Apr. 7 in order to get some rest. Springer was a starter for that game and ended with 19 points and three assists in 34 minutes during the overtime win.

Springer saw two minutes of action in Philadelphia’s game-one win against Brooklyn in the first round but has not played in the playoffs since then due to coach’s decision.

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Battling injuries throughout the season has muddied the waters when it comes to Grant Williams’ spot in the Celtics rotation despite playing more basketball this season than at any other point in his career.

In the Celtics’ first-round matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, Williams did not play in game one, two, or five. However, Williams’ valuable effort in game six helped seal the deal and close the series over the Hawks. Williams came up big for Boston on defense as he only scored three points on the offensive end in 17 minutes.

Williams played four minutes off the bench in the Celtics’ loss to the 76ers on Monday night in Boston. The former Tennessee forward did not put up a shot attempt on the night and ended with a +2 plus/minus.

It doesn’t look like Springer will be getting any action in this series despite looking like a promising young piece on the 76ers’ roster. Harris, though, will continue to be one of the most important players in the series as a veteran for the Philadelphia squad as Joel Embiid battles through injury.

Boston and Philadelphia will return to the court on Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT for Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The winner of this series will take on the winner of Miami/New York for a spot in the NBA Finals.

2022-2023 Season Stats

Tobias Harris

  • 74 games – 14.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 50.1 FG%

Jaden Springer

  • 16 games – 2.6 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.5 APG, 48.6 FG%

Grant Williams

  • 79 games – 8.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 45.4 FG%

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One Response

  1. Hey Ric! Tobias was drafted in 2011. He’s been in the NBA 12 years. No biggie, but don’t make me older than I am already!!!

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