Celtics-Suns review: Williams' passing stands out

Celtics-Suns review: Williams' passing stands out
February 23, 2013, 1:15 am
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(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Within minutes of getting into Friday's game, it was clear that Terrence Williams' passing was no passing fancy.

Despite his 6-foot-6, 220-ish pound linebacker frame, Williams is all point guard, all the time.

And his ability to find teammates was yet another development to come out of Boston's 113-88 victory over Phoenix.

Williams shared team-high assist honors (4) with Jeff Green, although Green played almost 15 more minutes.

 "T-Will played tremendous, dishing the ball out, playing the point guard, setting us up in the offense, being aggressive," said Green who had a season-high 31 points. "That's what we want from him. He did a good job."

Said Williams: "I just try to find people. This is a great, great group of guys to play with. They're able to make shots. I'm just getting them the ball. They're doing the hard part making the shots. It's definitely a dream to play with shooters. I'm just trying to get them the ball when they're open."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers had a pretty good feel for what Williams could do as playmaker after Williams spent a couple of weeks in Boston prior to the season starting working out at the practice facility.

Danny Ainge told Comcast SportsNet that Williams was given an invitation to the C's training camp, but instead opted to participate in the Detroit Pistons' camp in which was eventually waived prior to the start of the season.

Williams says him playing the point is a function of what he does best on the floor.

"I'm not great like these other guys to run off a screen, come off another screen and shoot the ball and make it," Williams said. "That's not my game. I can find you, and let you do the running."

Williams' ability to run the point off the bench was among the many factors that contributed to the Celtics' blowout win. Here are some other factors outlined prior to the game, and how they actually played out.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Look for Phoenix guard Goran Dragic to try and make a similar adjustment to handling Avery Bradley's pressure, that Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash did on Wednesday.
 "You could see Avery's ball pressure affected Nash in the first game, and I thought Nash came in with a very aggressive mindset (on Wednesday)," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Nash came in with a very aggressive mindset; I mean he came in trying to attack Avery and that's what veterans do."

WHAT WE SAW: Despite leading the Suns in just about every major statistical category, Dragic's impact on the game was minimal, at best. He finished with 19 points, 10 assists and five rebounds.

MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Kevin Garnett vs. Marcin Gortat: Garnett has the edge against most NBA centers, but Gortat is the kind of physical big man that can be problematic for Garnett. Throw in the fact that the C's are even thinner in the middle after trading Jason Collins to Washington, and this matchup has the potential to be quite challenging for the Celtics.

WHAT WE SAW: Even though Kevin Garnett was with the team during their morning shoot-around, C's coach Doc Rivers opted to give him the night off. Gortat had a pretty typical game for him even though he had a size advantage all game. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jason Terry has done a solid job scoring since Rajon Rondo's season-ending injury. But with the addition of Jordan Crawford, it'll be worth keeping an eye on how Crawford impacts his minutes, if at all.

WHAT WE SAW: Terry still had a Terry-like game of 13 points despite the presence of Crawford and to a lesser extent, Terrence Williams. Actually, because of the lopsided nature of Friday's game and the C's being so short-handed, you might see these three play together more often because to Rivers' surprise, Williams showed that he can defend some small forwards which would allow him to then play all three together.

STAT TO TRACK: Boston would love for its defense to get stronger as the game progresses, which would be consistent with the way Phoenix has played season. The Suns average 25.1 points per game in the first quarter which ranks 10th in the NBA. From there, they dip both in terms of scoring average and ranking. In the second quarter, they average 24.1 points (18th in the NBA) while their average in third and fourth quarters is 23.5 (20th) and 21.8 points (30th), respectively.

WHAT WE SAW: Although the Suns' offense improved through the first three quarters, their deficit only increased from an eight-point deficit after the first quarter, to 12 at the half, to 16 after three quarters.