Williams gets comfortable in first Garden game with C's

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Williams gets comfortable in first Garden game with C's

BOSTON For the viewing public, the Boston Celtics' 78-66 win over Miami should have come with a viewers discretion warning.

It was game that was as aesthetically painful to watch as we've seen this season involving the Celtics.

But for ex-Boston College star Sean Williams, it was a night to remember.

It was his first game at the TD Garden, which for this former B.C. standout, created some early moments of anxiety.

He knew it.

So did his coach, Doc Rivers.

"You know he was pressing early," Rivers said.

Said Williams: "You get tired real fast, your legs give out on you real quick everything kind of shuts down when you get out there. But yeah, I caught my second wind in the second half."

Early in the fourth quarter, he made a lay-up that gave the C's a 56-52 lead, their largest lead of the game at that point. He followed that up with a pair of free throws seconds later, showing a much more aggressive, assertive brand of basketball that was absent in the first half.

And don't think for a minute that Rivers didn't notice the change.

"One thing I did like about Sean down the stretch he's competitive," Rivers said. "And you can see that. He wasn't going to back down to anything, got some great blocked shots, so that was good to see."

It was the kind of performance that Williams has the ability to deliver. But only time will tell if he'll get a chance to showcase those skills with any kind of consistency in the playoffs.

While Greg Stiemsma has established himself as the Celtics' first big man off the bench, there's a huge void for a No. 2 big. The C's love Ryan Hollins' energy, but he continues to struggle rebounding the ball.

And with Williams, the C's have a 6-foot-10, shot-blocker who like Hollins, is a high-energy kind of player.

With so little time, it's unlikely Williams can play his way into being a part of the team's regular rotation. But he's already shown the ability to contribute, which is a comforting thought in case Rivers has to tap the fourth-year forward.

Williams, like every other Celtic player, wants to play as much as possible.

But he's not about to start politicking for a role in the rotation, especially coming off of a good, but not great game against a Miami Heat team that kept their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, on the bench.

"I'll let Doc decide that," Williams said when asked about being in the regular rotation. "It's not up to me. I just come here everyday and try to get better at what I do."

Williams added, "I'm just trying to come in here and help these guys reach their goals, getting that 18th ring, that's all I'm focused on."

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

TORONTO - DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart.

Down 91-88 with 4:11 to play, the Raptors went on a 9-1 run to lead by five with 2:01 to play. Though Crowder cut that lead to three with a jump shot with 1:46 remaining, DeRozan drilled a jump shot with a minute remaining to put the Raptors up by five.

Tucker was unable to convert either free throw after being fouled by Al Horford with 47 seconds left, but Thomas missed the next time down the court, and after being fouled by Smart, DeRozan converted both free throws with 33 seconds to play. He then followed up with two more after a three-point play from Smart to take the game away from Boston with 27.5 seconds to go.

The Celtics found their range early, connecting on 55 percent of their shots from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range in the first quarter. The Raptors could only hit 40 percent and went 0 for 3 from beyond the arc, and while DeRozan topped all scorers with 10 points, they were trailing 29-18 after 12 minutes.

Boston pushed its lead to 17 on a 3-point shot from Jaylen Brown with 1:29 to play in the half, but Toronto closed on a 7-0 run following a flagrant foul by Thomas on DeRozan.

The Raptors continued their comeback effort in the third quarter, with Ibaka's 3-pointer with 5:58 to go capping a 27-8 Toronto run to give the Raptors their first lead since the 3:54 mark of the first quarter. Smart's 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining handed Boston a 77-74 edge entering the final 12 minutes.

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Chris Mannix helps break down what the Boston Celtics could do with all the cap space this offseason in hopes that they can build a championship team to compete next season.