Williams hopes to make most of chance with Celtics

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Williams hopes to make most of chance with Celtics

ORLANDO, Fla. For many of the players here, summer league games offer up a first taste of what professional basketball will be like.

And then there are players like the Sean Williams who come in having participated in the summer league circuit . . . a lot.

"This is like my fourth summer league," he said.

Williams' talent alone should exempt him from having to participate. But the NBA isn't just about having the most talented basketball players.

Often it's how those talents are used -- and misused -- that determines a player's status and NBA longevity.

Williams will be the first to tell you that he hasn't utilized his talents as well as he should. He'll tell you that he's made mistakes both in college and since coming into the NBA that have had a negative impact on his career in so many ways.

But that appears to be a thing of the past now as Williams continues to pump life into a once-fledgling NBA career that's starting to turn around for the better since he joined the C's in March. While his contract for this upcoming season has not been guaranteed yet, Williams continues to produce in a way that gives Boston little reason to look elsewhere as they try to add more depth for the upcoming 2012-2013 season.

"I think he's grown up," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "That's why we give everybody a chance. I get coaches calling me about other guys all the time. I don't give a bleep about that. I'll give him a shot. If he burns you, you let him go."

The C's have shown no signs of wanting to do that.

And Williams, a former first-round pick out of Boston College, has no desire to leave.

But he understands that at the end of the day, this is a business and regardless of how well he does in summer league, there's no guarantee that he'll be back next season.

That, he says, is the beauty of Orlando's summer league.

"For a player like me, it's the only time yo come into a gym and there's only GMs, head coaches, team personnel here," Williams said. "Players get a sense of the evaluation that's going on here. You're trying to show that you can learn on the fly and adapt. What coaches give you in a couple of days, is what summer league is about. Players come out here, show you can adapt and come out here and do what you do."

Although he played fewer minutes (just over 14) than any other starter for the Celtics on Monday, there was no mistaking his impact on the game, altering shots, getting a deflection or rebounding the basketball.

Those are are high-energy, effort plays that speak to what Williams' strengths are as an NBA player.

"He's not skilled offensively much at all," Rivers said. "But he has a chance to be a shut-down defender, a shot blocker, a guy that you can bring in and change the tempo of the game. He rebounds the ball. He has that skill set in him. He has to marry himself to that."

Williams appears willing to do that, proving once again how much he has matured in comparison to his college days and early on in his NBA career.

"I think we forget many of these guys make mistakes at 22 and 23," Rivers said. "I'd like to see all of us at that age with the fame . . . it's not that easy. But it looks like he's grown."

One of Williams' former teammates in Boston and New Jersey, Keyon Dooling, spoke glowingly about the importance of younger players like Williams being open-minded enough to embrace the teachings of a veteran team like the Celtics.

"You want to pour into the young guys," Dooling said. "You want them to know that this is an NBA brotherhood. We have a sense of responsibility for each other. Right now, you may be following. But there's going to be a time when we're not here and you're going to be a leader. You're gonna have to pool these lessons you're learning here right now, and apply them to where you are in the future. You want to teach these young guys how to be leaders, how to be model citizens, how to be family men, how to dig deep, play hard, how to play through injuries, how to do all those things. It's a blueprint for success."

It's one that Williams is indeed subscribing to, which is why he has not hesitated to assist the Celtics two rookie big men, Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo, with whatever questions they might have.

"I'm learning from them, too," Williams said. "We're all pushing one another, trying to get better everyday. That's what we all want, both individually and as a team."

Williams added, "everyday is a learning experience for everybody out here."

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

BOSTON – Stacking wins on top of wins is the mindset of the Boston Celtics right now, so the players who did speak to the media following Friday’s 130-120 win over Phoenix drove that point home emphatically.

But inside the locker room, it was unusually quiet, the kind of silence you expect following a loss.

Considering how the Celtics’ defense was absolutely thrashed by Devin Booker’s franchise record 70 points, there’s no question at a minimum the Celtics’ pride overall was stung.

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And when Suns coach Earl Watson began calling time-outs and having his team commit fouls at the end of the game, there’s no question it rubbed a few Celtics the wrong way.

“I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15. But I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him (Booker) the most points possible. Hat off to to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

Following the game, Watson defended his late-game decision making.

“Calling time-outs at the end kept the game close,” he said. “It’s basketball; I’m not coming to any arena to be liked. If people don’t like us while we build … so what? Do something about it.”

The Suns (22-51) never came any closer than 10 points, which was the final score margin.

Al Horford acknowledged that there was some aggravation following the game.

“You can be frustrated when somebody is doing that to you,” he said. “It’s not to one guy, it’s to the team so I think we’re probably more aggravated at ourselves, at least personally I feel that way. I probably could have done a little better, maybe done some different things to prevent it. We got to give him credit, 70 points, I don’t care it’s 70, he got 70. It’s impressive.”

But there will be some inside the Celtics locker room and among their fan base, who were bothered by the Suns’ late-game actions which seemed more focused on Booker getting numbers than anything else.

When asked about being disrespected by the Suns’ late-game strategy, Thomas wanted no part of that conversation.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery.”

 Boom!