Sports

Grant Williams, Bam Adebayo have been rivals since North Carolina highschool days


Revisiting the origins of the Grant Williams-Bam Adebayo rivalry initially appeared on NBC Sports Boston

You could be very shocked to study that Grant Williams has outscored Bam Adebayo by means of two video games of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals — until you observe North Carolina highschool hoops.

Williams’ Boston Celtics and Adebayo’s Miami Heat are assembly within the East Finals for the second time in three years. The rivalry between Williams and Adebayo goes again to 2015, nevertheless: Adebayo was the highly-touted recruit starring for High Point (N.C.) Christian Academy, whereas Williams was the hardworking ahead making an attempt to make a reputation for himself at Providence Day School in Charlotte, N.C.

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Providence Day and High Point met twice throughout that 2015-16 season — first throughout a Thanksgiving event and once more within the state championship recreation. While Adebayo’s squad was favored in each contests, Williams’ crew gained each video games, with Williams truly outscoring Adebayo 15-11 of their second matchup to assist Providence Day win the state title.

The “highlight” from that recreation might have been Williams holding his floor to take a vicious cost from Adebayo, who was compelled to depart the sport along with his fourth private foul. (Skip to the 45:38 mark to look at the play.)

“I’m thinking he might not get up from this. He might be dead,” Williams’ highschool coach, Brian Field, informed The Athletic’s Jared Weiss again in 2020. “And Grant just pops right back up and it’s Bam’s fourth foul in the early third quarter.”

Fast ahead to the 2022 postseason, the place Williams has excelled as considered one of Boston’s greatest defenders whereas serving to comprise the likes of Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and, most just lately, Adebayo.

While Adebayo loved a profession 12 months through the common season (19.1 factors and 10.1 rebounds per recreation), he is been very quiet offensively by means of two video games towards the Celtics, with simply 16 complete factors on 4 of 6 capturing. His previous highschool nemesis is partly accountable for that low manufacturing, as Williams has guarded Adebayo for a team-high 11 minutes and 9 seconds by means of two video games, per NBA monitoring knowledge.

On the opposite finish, in the meantime, Williams has blossomed into the secondary scorer that Adebayo needs to be for Miami. The 23-year-old dropped 19 factors on 5 of seven capturing in Boston’s Game 2 rout and has 26 factors within the sequence, persevering with a wonderful postseason run during which he is averaging 11.3 factors per recreation for the Celtics.

Adebayo dominated the Celtics through the 2020 East Finals, averaging 21.8 factors, 11.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists to assist the Heat advance to the NBA Finals. But that model of Adebayo has but to point out up in 2022, thanks partly to the defensive work of Williams, who has made nice strides over the past two seasons.

If Williams can proceed outplaying his previous highschool rival, the percentages will likely be closely within the Celtics’ favor because the sequence shifts again to Boston for Game 3.



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