BOSTON (CBS) — Grant Williams has turned himself into a huge contributor off the Celtics bench, knocking down triples and helping lock down opponents on defense. He did a little of both in Sunday night’s 124-104 win over the Nuggets in Denver, and he hopes his performance leads to a new nickname among Boston fans.
That nickname, however, won’t be catching on in the Boston locker room. At least not according to the Celtics’ two best players.
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Williams was feeling mighty good about himself after Sunday night’s win, contributing 13 points off 4-for-8 shooting while pulling down eight rebounds and logging one incredible block on reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. The Denver big man turned on the spin cycle against Williams under the basket, but the Celtics’ forward recovered and swatted away the Jokic attempt from behind, leading to a Jayson Tatum three on the other end.
Blocking Jokic is no easy feat, given his incredible foot work and the bag of tricks he brings to every game. He also has five inches and 50 pounds on Williams, making the rejection all the more impressive.
GRANT SHOWING NIKOLA JOKIC NO MERCY 🚫 pic.twitter.com/r9Z7DJuk9c
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 21, 2022
Williams was a big part of Boston’s defensive effort on Jokic, who was held to just 23 points off 8-for-23 shooting with Williams, Al Horford and Robert Williams joining forces to keep him at bay. That 34.8 shooting percentage was the Denver big’s lowest of the season.
It makes perfect sense that after blocking a guy commonly known as “The Joker,” Williams would want to be called “Batman.” But both Tatum and Jaylen Brown aren’t so sure that Williams had earned it just yet.
Brown relayed Williams’ request to reporters and commended the defense that he played against Jokic. But the nickname, for now, isn’t a great fit.
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“Grant did a great job. He wanted me to tell the media he wants his nickname to be ‘Batman,’” Brown explained after the win. “Now, I said, ‘I don’t know about that one, Grant.’
“He did his job, so I’m doing mine. So, I like Batman. Y’all should call Grant Williams ‘Batman’ from now on,” joked Brown. “When he plays like that, we got to give him his respect because I thought Grant really held it down against the MVP, against Joker.”
Tatum was a little more unwilling to commit to the bit.
“Grant played great tonight. But I’m going to call him Grant, not no damned Batman,” Tatum said after Sunday’s win.
This is not the first time that Tatum has denied a request from Williams this season. In late February, when the team was starting to really feel it on the floor, Williams signaled to Tatum for an alley oop — a request that Tatum willfully denied. He said that denying Williams that high-flying opportunity was an “executive decision” on his part.
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Now Tatum is rejecting Williams’ nickname request. It looks like Grant will have to come through with a few more rejections before he earns the moniker from his teammates.
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