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Celtics center Robert Williams out for Game 5 with lingering knee soreness

Celtics center Robert Williams (right) has had his playing time limited in the playoffs.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Celtics center Robert Williams missed Game 5 of the conference semifinals against the Bucks Wednesday night, his second in a row, because of lingering left knee soreness and restricted movement.

Williams missed nearly a month after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus March 30 and returned for Game 3 of the opening-round playoff series against the Nets. But he had a flare-up prior to Game 4 in Milwaukee Monday. Coach Ime Udoka was optimistic then that he would be able to return for Game 5, but the fourth-year big man continues to experience some pain.

“He’s going through some general soreness,” Udoka said. “The swelling went down and that’s why we were hopeful for tonight with the swelling getting better over the last two days. But he still has some soreness and just going to be overly cautious, obviously, coming off of surgery until it’s pain-free. Rest until he’s ready.”

Williams averaged 10 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game this season and emerged as a potential All-Defensive team selection. His playing time has been limited during these playoffs, however, and he is averaging 6.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.


Udoka said this recent setback is not unexpected.

“When you increase your minutes, at some point, you’ll have some soreness or possibly flare-up,” Udoka said. “I think the three days off in between [Games 2 and 3] he had soreness after certain games, but you get that extra rest time. Now, with every other night, we’ll be more conscious if he has any kind of pain or swelling.”

Grant Williams started in place of Robert Williams for the second consecutive game. Backup big man Daniel Theis struggled in 11 minutes of action in Game 4, and Udoka ultimately leaned on smaller lineups in the second half as Boston clawed back from a double-digit deficit.


Tatum sixth in MVP voting

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum finished sixth in the voting for NBA MVP, the league announced Wednesday night.

Tatum received eight fourth-place votes and 19 fifth-place votes from the 100-member media panel, giving him 43 total points. He finished behind Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (875 points), 76ers center Joel Embiid (706), Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (595), Suns guard Devin Booker (216), and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (146).

Jayson Tatum finished sixth in MVP voting, it was announced Wednesday.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

This season Tatum averaged 26.9 points, 8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, helping the Celtics secure the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

No big deal for Udoka

Udoka finished fourth in the voting for NBA Coach of the Year, a significant achievement for a first-year coach whose team was toiling below .500 in January. But on Wednesday he mostly shrugged off the honor.

“Personally, for me, it’s whatever,” he said. “Honestly. But the theme is we did well and made some strides, so you get recognition as far as that. Like I said, about the Coach of the Month thing, it’s a reflection of what we’re doing as a team. So if you want to say what I think about it personally, if we get off to a better start, better result for me and that would mean our team would be doing better. We’ll try to get off to a better start next year.”

White picks up shooting

After making just 1 of 11 3-pointers in Boston’s opening-round win over the Nets, guard Derrick White has found a bit of a rhythm beyond the arc in this series. White, who was acquired from the Spurs in February, entered Wednesday shooting 5 for 13 (41.7 percent) from beyond the arc.


“Everybody likes when the ball goes through the net,” White said. “I just try to stay confident.

“The coaching staff and my teammates have done a great job picking me up when I’ve had a bad game. That’s the great thing about this team. When somebody has a bad game, somebody else is going to step up and pick them up.

“I just try to go out there and do whatever it takes to help us win. It’s always good to make shots.”

Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him @adamhimmelsbach.