Celtics lose to Cavaliers in OT after Grant Williams’ pre-FT chirping massively backfires
Either way, there is a worse way to lose a game than to miss two free throws in a tied game at the end of normal time. As Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams learned, before the misses, you could talk all sorts of nonsense.
The road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday was already tough enough for Boston, which has lost three of its last four games and led by 15 points in both the second and third quarters. The Cavaliers were trailing by double figures with just 4:15 left in the fourth round, but rallied to tie the score at 109–109 in the closing seconds.
The Celtics had possession with 5.8 seconds left after a pair of crucial free throws from Donovan Mitchell. A missed downtime by Peyton Pritchard fell into the hands of Williams, who was fouled with 0.8 seconds left.
This gave Williams a pair of potentially game-winning free throws, who have made 86.4% of free throws over the past two seasons. For Boston, the game was about to end, and Williams knew this as he looked like he was telling Mitchell, “I’ll make them both”:
You can probably tell where this is going. Williams didn’t do both of them.
To the credit of the Cavaliers, they tried their best to freeze Williams after his first missed free throw. But at the end of the day, a player like Williams should make at least one of the shots instead of missing both and going into overtime:
The extra period didn’t go well for the Celtics either, especially when Mitchell threw a huge dunk halfway through. The Celtics lost 118–114.
Mitchell confirmed to reporters after the game, Williams did say he would make both free throws. Mitchell also said that this statement was the product of some chatter on his part:
You just try to mentally mess around with it and see what happens. I have no doubt that if Grant is in that position again tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, he will score both free throws. He’s a good player, just trying to find a way to get in his head a little.
Williams finished the game with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting with four rebounds. These free throws were his only entry to the line of the night. Meanwhile, Mitchell posted 40 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, his third 40-point game of the season against the Celtics.
The Celtics, 45–21, are now two games behind the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks, who suffered a major loss and snapped a 16-game winning streak. The Cavaliers are 4.5 games behind them, 41–26.