Grant Williams’ Celtics teammates supportive despite epic failure at the line in Cavs loss

The Boston Celtics have had an awful habit of starting out games against their opponents strong, only to collapse late in the contest, send it to overtime, and then lose the tilt.

And in Monday’s 118-114 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in extra time, reserve forward Grant Williams managed to find a way to make the trend of late losses even worse. Somehow, the Tennessee alum managed to get himself to the free throw line at the end of regulation with time nearly expired, only needing to make one of two attempts at the stripe to seal the win for Boston. To make matters worse, he reportedly told Cavs star Donovan Mitchell he would make each of his free throws.

So of course, he missed both.

Twitter rightfully lit up the Charlotte native for his hubris, and regardless of how fans might have seen their head spin on learning of his overconfidence and subsequent flub at the charity stripe, his teammates lined up to defend him, according to MassLive’s Brian Robb.

“Those are free throws of course we want to make but that’s something we can avoid getting to that point,” said Malcolm Brogdon.

“We were up 10 or 12 points with three or four minutes left. We shouldn’t have to rely on free throws at the end of the day to win a game like that. We were playing good ball, we just had to close them out and we didn’t.”

“Of course, he’s going to take it hard but it’s not his fault,” cautioned Brogdon. “His free throws aren’t his fault.”

“Of course, we probably could have won the game with them but it shouldn’t have come to that point. We played a good enough game to close that team out without needing free throws.”

“It happens,” related Jaylen Brown of Williams’ whiffed free throws.

“I’ve been in that position before and that’s what should fuel you into being better,” explained the Georgia native.

“You can’t let it be a spirit breaker. Grant has had a great career. The reason why he’s been successful is because of his confidence. And now is one of the moments where his confidence is going to be tested. A lot of people are now seeing some of the adversity he’s going through. And you’ve gotta respond as a man. You’ve got to be better. You can’t let it take you down. You can look at it and go two different ways.”

“You can go up or you can go down,” continued Brown. “I want him to go up.”

This is not the first serious slump in Williams’ career — he famously had one of the worst slumps in league history from beyond the arc to start his NBA career — but with the Charlotte native heading into restricted free agency after betting on himself, it may loom larger than others.

That it has lingered as long as it has is also a concern given his importance to this team’s title hopes as a key rotation player off of the bench whose defensive versatility is a significant part of Boston’s postseason toolkit.

But as these things tend to go, the only way out of a slump is to keep playing with confidence. The hubristic trash talk, however, might be better used once Williams finds himself safely back on track.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire