Celtics rookie Grant Williams got a taste of what it’s like to play against Grayson Allen — perhaps a bit more so than he would have preferred.
During the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ blowout summer league win Thursday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, Allen was called for two consecutive flagrant fouls on Williams in the span of seven seconds, leading to the polarizing former Duke basketball star’s ejection from the game.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 12, 2019
The first foul came when Williams set an off-ball screen and got tied up with Allen, who responded by shoving the stocky 6-foot-7 rookie toward the ground. After reviewing the play, officials assessed the Grizzlies guard with a flagrant foul and gave Williams two free throws (he made one). When play resumed, Allen ran into another screen by Williams and switched onto the Celtics forward. Williams then got the ball in the post; and when he went up for a layup, Allen took a wild swing at the ball and appeared to make contact with Williams’s head.
The foul elicited boos from the crowd and the refs quickly called Allen a second flagrant, earning him an ejection from the game.
The entire sequence of events can be viewed here.
Williams, who briefly went after Allen following the second foul, could seen be smiling as his teammates steered him back to the bench. After the game, the 20-year-old said he didn’t take Allen’s fouls personally.
“He’s a competitor,” Williams told reporters. “Don’t take anything personally. I’ve always thought of it as you wind up in the game, things like that happen. So you respect him, he’s a talented player. He’s a guy that did really great things at Duke. He’s good friends with a couple of my friends. So I didn’t take anything personally. It was just a matter of competing on the court.”
Williams grew up in Charlotte — in the same state where Allen played in college — and agreed with one reporter’s suggestion Thursday that he laughed off the fouls.
“I joke around because where I grew up is different,” he said. “I was like, ‘Let me relax and go on and keep playing, just what my team needs.’”
Williams, who the Celtics picked 22nd overall in last month’s draft, scored a team-leading 21 points in the 113-87 win.
ESPN broadcaster Dan Dakich, who also works as a college basketball analyst for the network, didn’t take Allen’s antics so lightly. While those close to the 23-year-old — who was drafted last year by the Utah Jazz and traded to the Grizzlies this summer in a package deal for Mike Conley — testify to his good character, Allen developed a reputation for dirty plays during his college career.
Both announcers blasted Allen during the ESPN game broadcast Thursday — Dakich particularly so.
“Duke defended him ad nauseam, enabled him,” he said. “Now it just continues. Truthfully it’s just exhausting. And you said it off-air, if he were this tough, grind-it-out, fighting guy, you’d say, alright. But he just stays around the perimeter avoids contact and then does stuff like that.”
The Celtics will play the Grizzlies again Saturday afternoon in the first-round of the Las Vegas summer league single-elimination tournament.
Boston.com writer Nicole Yang also contributed to this story.