Williams Marvels at Process of Adjusting Game Plan from Series to Series

BOSTON – Rookie forward Grant Williams is learning quickly that moving on to a new playoff series means moving on to an entirely new set of circumstances. Everything changes.

New opponent. New matchups. New skill sets. New lineup rotations. And, as a result, a brand-new game plan.

The Boston Celtics on Sunday began the process of implementing their new game plan for their upcoming Eastern Conference Finals series against the Miami Heat.

This Miami team is very different from the Toronto team Boston just eliminated. Miami is extremely versatile, deep and skilled, and its roster is full of length and athleticism. That’s a drastic difference from the Raptors, whose top three guards were all 6-foot-3 or shorter, and who oftentimes used a traditional center in Marc Gasol.

The differences between the two teams mean that the C’s aren’t just tweaking a few things here and there as they move into their next series; they instead may make wholesale changes, which has opened Williams’ eyes.

“Just hearing the play calls going up for the next game versus Miami coming up,” he said, “as well as the personnel and the things that we may be changing compared to what we did in the Toronto series, how we’re guarding certain people – it’s just a remarkable thing to see and watch.”

This will be the third playoff series in which Williams will participate, so it’s his third opportunity to see and hear a wide-ranging game plan that his coaching staff has concocted. Williams made it sound as if the process of watching his coaches in action heading into each round has been awe-inspiring to him.

“I don’t know if I could be a coach,” he said, “but it’s definitely something that these guys take a lot of pride in. And I can see why, because it’s one of probably the most difficult jobs.

“You credit every single coach on our staff. They do a great job of not only being prepared, but understanding what each team does and what potentially we can face in the future, but also prepare for what we’re facing in the moment.”

Brad Stevens is the leading tactician for Boston’s coaching staff. He and his staff spent the past 48 or so hours building a game plan for how the C’s will both defend Miami and score against it. He stopped short of sharing any of the details of that plan Sunday, but he did emphasize that if his players don’t play hard and with organization, this series won’t go their way.

“It starts with maximum effort,” Stevens said. “It starts with making sure that everybody is where they’re supposed to be and where we need to be reliably on every possession. Because these guys (the Heat), if you’re off of them, if you’re unsolid, if you’re not communicating, you’re gonna be in the blender the way that they move.”

The Celtics are putting in the work now to avoid that blender. They’re implementing a brand-new game plan, with brand-new personnel, play calls and emphases to combat the only other Eastern Conference team left standing.

These adjustments are a lot for any player to take in, let alone a rookie. Thanks to a lengthy playoff run, Williams is getting quite an education in that regard during his first NBA season.


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