East Notes: Celtics, Robert Williams, Raptors, Knicks


Center Robert Williams III is hoping to return from a knee injury by Christmas, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Williams has started to take part in 3-on-3 halfcourt drills in practice.

Regardless, the Celtics could be in the market for another big man.

“I think for Boston now as you start to look out to the February trade deadline, I think another big man, another center who could play minutes in the case of Rob Williams missing time or a 36-year-old Al Horford being out,” Wojnarowski said, via Arthur Hill of Hoops Rumors. “They are trying to close every hole they can to be a championship team. We can watch Boston as they get closer to the trade deadline, seeing if there are any frontcourt help off their bench they could acquire.”

  • The Celtics bounced back from a loss to the Bulls with a big win over the Mavericks on Wednesday. “Chicago was just one game,” forward Jaylen Brown told reporters. “There’s going to be times where you’re going to not make shots and it’s going to put pressure on our defense. More times than not, this team’s going to play the right way.”


It seems as if the Raptors have more injured players than healthy ones, making life particularly difficult for coach Nick Nurse

As creative as he can be, there seems to be no winning at the moment, only degrees of losing. In Wednesday’s loss to the Nets, the Raptors were without the likes of forward without Pascal Siakam (groin), Scottie Barnes (ankle) and Otto Porter Jr. (toe), forward/center Precious Achiuwa (ankle) and point guard Dalano Banton (ankle/illness).

Not exactly a great way to play your next game.

“Once in a while, you might enjoy the challenge, but not for three weeks in a row here,” Nurse said, via Michael Grange of Sportsnet. “It’s getting … it’s not that enjoyable. It’s not the end of the world, and it’s not like we haven’t played very well, because I think we have. If you look at some of our metrics … I think we’re still top 10 in offense and defense in the league and all that stuff, with all these injuries we’ve had for multiple weeks.”

  • One the bright side, Siakam may be closing in on a return, having taking part in the non-contact portion of practice in recent days. He is averaging a career-high 24.8 points, but has missed all but nine games.


Center Isaiah Hartenstein continues to deal with an inflamed Achilles tendon and said he feels as if he’s only about “80 percent,” via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

“I feel like I’m a little slower than I normally am,” Hartenstein said. “Little slower to get up to defend the shots where I normally am able to do really good.”

  • The Knicks are viewed as a team with interest in available Suns forward Jae Crowder, but may not have the pieces Phoenix seeks. New York’s best option for Crowder would be to get a third team involved, sources told Hoops Wire.

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