At the far end of the visiting locker room at the Palace last night, Nate Robinson, Glen Davis and Shelden Williams sat at their lockers talking in a triangle about everything from their what it was like to watch the birth of their children to what it was like to sit on the bench with no other choice but to be patient.
Robinson was more or less the expert, having been exiled to the bench in New York, staying there for 14 games before Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni eventually let him out of the doghouse.
Williams, who had gone through his own stretch of 14-games as a spectator, recalled seeing video of Robinson keeping his routine up despite not playing. Running stairs, shooting before games. Robinson wanted to be ready.
So did Williams.
After a promising preseason and a solid start that saw him flirt with double-doubles on a handful of occasions, Williams saw his time slip when Davis returned to the lineup. He saw his minutes peak and valley in Atlanta and Sacramento, and now it was happening in Boston, but if it was affecting his attitude, he never let it show.
“I’m not going to lie, it was tough for me to do that,” Williams said. “Being
a competitor, I always want to go in there and compete and to not be able to do
that is a tough thing. But I have to be ready. I have to be ready when my name
Playing without Kendrick Perkins, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers had to be creative with lineups, and he found himself calling Williams early in the first quarter of the Celtics 105-100 win over Detroit. In 16 minutes, Williams scored 6 points and grabbed four rebounds, doing dirty work when the Celtics bench went on a fourth-quarter run that would ultimately lead to the win.
He had played spot minutes in Denver and Portland, but last night was a rush he hadn’t felt since early in the year.
“It’s my first time playing in a game-setting atmosphere in a while,” Williams said. “So, you know, you get all your energy and stuff going and you’re winded right away. Then you catch your second wind and all of a sudden you settle down and just start to play.”
On a night when the bench bailed the team out, Rivers applauded Williams for being ready when he could have been collecting dust.
“It’s about being a professional,” Williams said. “I knew I was in a tough situation with all the guys that’s been on the team already and that already had their set roles. Then also guys that are veteran guys and playing behind them. So, in order to stay ready I had to continue to stay positive, come in and do my same routine, keep my conditioning up and keep hustling hard and if something happens I’ll be ready for it.”