"I just thought our game plan was right on the money in terms of how we wanted to play Dwight Howard," said Hawks coach Mike Woodson, whose team led by as many as 15 points. "He's tough to defend in the hole, and our guys got in foul trouble early. I thought Shelden Williams and Lorenzen Wright came in and gave us a tremendous lift off the bench in battling him down low. "And then the supporting cast was just there, they made plays when we had to make them and our defense tonight was as good as it has been in the last 10 games we've played."
With rookie center Al Horford in foul trouble from the start, the Hawks were forced to turn to Wright and Williams to pick up the slack on Howard. Williams did the job in the first half, finishing a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and with 12 points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
14 and 11 in 18 minutes against the Lakers in a blowout loss last year is admittedly meaningless. 12 and 7 in 12 minutes against Dwight Howard is slightly less meaningless. In either case, Shelden Williams still put in the effort. He was in there battling. How many times has Patrick O'Bryant put up those kind of numbers in his professional career?
The Celtics don't need him to be the next Bill Walton. But as Florida Celts Fan noted the other day, he could easily be the next Greg Kite. And before you laugh too hard at the low bar set by Kite, you may want to go back and watch the 1986 Finals again. All he did was play 5-10 minutes a game, laying a body on Hakeem and Ralph when the starters and Walton needed a blow.
That's what we need from "Give it to me, Big Shelden."