Kendrick Perkins: Rob Williams makes C's favorite to win it all


Already up 2-0 in their first-round series vs. the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics are about to get a major boost.

The plan is for big man Robert Williams to return for Saturday night's Game 3 at Barclays Center. Williams, who's been sidelined with a knee injury since March 27, is expected to be limited to around 20 minutes if he indeed takes the court.

Forsberg: What Celtics fans should expect from Robert Williams in return

So, just how big of an impact would a healthy Williams have on the Celtics for the rest of the playoffs? Former C's center Kendrick Perkins has lofty expectations.

"Robert Williams coming back to this Celtics team, the way that they're playing right now, (they're) my favorite to win it all," Perkins said on ESPN. "When you look at Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, and the way that they're guarding Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, I don't know what other teams have those types of players on their squad that they have to be worried about besides the Golden State Warriors possibly.

"So they can guard, they're an offensive juggernaut the way that they're moving the ball, you've got guys like Grant Williams stepping up. And now you add Time Lord, that lob threat at the basket along with that defensive presence that could switch 1 through 5. You could book it right now, I'm calling it, the Celtics are going to win the title this year if Robert Williams is the same version that we've seen before his injury."

It's a strong take from Perk, though it may not be as bold as you think. The Celtics enter Game 3 with the third-best odds (+500) to win the 2022 NBA championship, per PointsBet Sportsbook. They trail only the Warriors (+300) and Phoenix Suns (+425).

The Celtics have done a tremendous job defending Durant through the first two games of the series and they shut down Irving in Game 2. The Nets already have their work cut out for them as they look to claw back into the series, and that challenge gets exponentially more difficult if Williams is even close to his usual self. Time Lord was among the NBA Defensive Player of the Year frontrunners before his meniscus tear prematurely ended his regular season.

Tip-off for Celtics-Nets Game 3 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. on NBC Sports Boston. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live.

Note: Games 3-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired exclusively on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

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