fb-pixel Skip to main content

Celtics forward Grant Williams will not appeal, understands reason for suspension

Grant Williams reacts as he leaves the floor after being ejected from the game against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center on Monday.Michael Reaves/Getty

Celtics forward Grant Williams insists that the contact he made with referee Cheryl Flores during Boston’s loss to the Bulls on Monday that led to his ejection and subsequent one-game suspension was inadvertent. But he acknowledged Thursday that the punishment was understandable and that he had no plans to appeal.

“No matter if it was inadvertent or not, I’ve got to be better, got to be more mindful, got to be more conscious of my surroundings and more conscious of my mental state and not let any of those things affect me during the game,” Williams said.

Williams said the incident was preceded by “probably a succession of calls that I disagreed with.” Moments earlier he voiced his displeasure with a moving screen call. And when he was called for a blocking foul rather than a charge with 8 minutes, 58 seconds left in the fourth quarter, he jumped to his feet and ran toward the bench. In the process, his hip collided with Flores, resulting in an automatic ejection.

“I looked up and I saw the block [call] and I kind of got up and tried to run off like it was a disagreement,” Williams said. “Then I looked up and was like, ‘Oh crap, I’m about to make contact.’ So I literally see in the video, I tried to avoid it and my glute hit her hip and that’s why I made contact … It definitely (was) nowhere near intentional, nowhere near anything of that nature.”


After being ejected, Williams angrily shouted toward Flores before leaving the court. Players are not able to communicate with officials away from the court, but Williams said he has tried to send word through back channels that the contact was unintentional and his outburst was not personal. His emotions simply took over.


“I hope that one moment doesn’t take [away] three years of communication and respect [for officials],” Williams said.

Over his four seasons, Williams has developed a reputation for having constant dialogue with referees during games. Sometimes he is complaining about calls; other times he is simply trying to understand their decisions and have open lines of communication.

“Most referees know that, and that’s really the relationship that we’ve built throughout the years,” Williams said. “They’re comfortable. That’s why they let me go all the time. And I’m known to be that, known to be that type of player, but in the moments where I am becoming absorbed, I have to be more absorbed in the game itself and not absorbed in what’s going on around me.”

Williams will miss Friday night’s game against the upstart Cavaliers at TD Garden, further depleting a Boston frontcourt that is already without injured big men Robert Williams and Danilo Gallinari.

“I think it’s an opportunity to continue to see different things, use our depth, see how we can adjust to their size,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said. “But at the same time, we have to focus on our strengths. We have speed, we have skill, we have a lot of space. So it’s a good challenge for us, a good opportunity for our depth. We’ll have to kind of reinvent ourselves a little bit.”

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