Williams earning Celtics trust in playoffs

Williams earning Celtics trust in playoffs
May 2, 2013, 12:15 am
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NEW YORK — The Boston Celtics only used seven players in their 92-86 Game 5 win over the New York Knicks.

To play so few players is surprising.

The fact that Terrence Williams was one of them?

Yeah, that's a bit of a shock as well.

"Sometimes you pull out a card," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "He was it tonight."

To his credit, Williams' play was indeed one of the many factors to play out in the C's favor as they cut the Knicks lead in the best-of-seven series down to 3-2 with Game 6 in Boston on Friday.

Williams came off the bench to score four points to go with four rebounds and two assists without a single turnover.

And while the 6-foot-6 guard didn't put up big numbers for the C's, there was no mistaking his play was an important piece in the puzzle for the Celtics.

"He steadied the ship," said Celtics guard Jason Terry who like Williams, is also from Seattle. "He gives us another ball-handler. He is a hard worker. It is paying off for him."

Said Williams: "I work on my game every day. You have to be a professional. That's one thing I've learned from Kevin (Garnett). I look up to Kevin so much, more now being a teammate. Playing against him, you hate him. Now I look up to him as a big brother. Watching him work every day, I just kind of molded it into my game. You just have to be ready."

Williams' ascension up the C's depth chart is indeed a testament to perseverance and as he has said many times, making the most of his opportunities to play.

Prior to signing a 10-day contract with the Celtics in February, Williams had spent this past season in the Chinese Basketball Association.

He parlayed that first 10-day contract into a second one, and from there he was signed for the rest of the season in addition to having his contract partially guaranteed for the 2013-2014 season as well.

Right now, next season is the furthest thing from Williams' mind.

Instead he is more focused on doing what Doc Rivers and his Celtics teammates have been telling him all season to do ... stay ready. And to his credit, Williams was indeed prepared for the moment on Wednesday with a solid all-around game that drew praise from all his teammates.

He has a size advantage over just about every one of the Knicks' guards. And when he's on the floor with Jeff Green and Paul Pierce and Garnett, often teams will leave him free to either shoot a jumper or potentially drive into the lane.

With so many options, Williams seemingly made the right call consistently during his near-17 minutes of action.

"He is showing the poise in big game situations," Pierce said. "At the point guard (position), we're asking him to come in here and run our offense. He hasn't been rattled.  He's been playing terrific defense, just playing under control. Most of the time when you see guys in their first playoff moments, they are a little anxious, they rush a lot. You don't see that with him. He has the poise of a veteran and he's given us great minutes every game."