Phoenix Suns’ Alan Williams: I’m ready to play

Mar 26, 2018, 12:53 PM
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) steals the ball from Phoenix Suns forward Alan Wi...

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) steals the ball from Phoenix Suns forward Alan Williams (15) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 3, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX – There are only eight games left in the season and no one is looking more forward to those eight games than Phoenix Suns center Alan Williams.

These last two-and-half weeks are his 2017-18 season.

“I’m ready to play,” he said Monday.

And Williams will, according to interim head coach Jay Triano, who mentioned after shootaround that Williams will see minutes against the Boston Celtics.

The Suns are back home following a two-game road trip.

Tip-off with the Celtics from Talking Stick Resort Arena is 7 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Williams has missed all season up to this point after undergoing right knee surgery just prior to the start of training camp.

Last week, with the Suns on the road, Williams played three games with the team’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns.

“I got better every single day I was up there,” he said. “It was a good thing for me just to get some game reps in and go against guys who were trying to make it as well. It was good.”

Williams closed out his three-game stay with a double-double. He scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while adding three blocks in a 141-137 overtime win against Sioux Falls. Overall, Williams averaged 16.0 points on 46.8 percent shooting plus 9.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 23.4 minutes.

“It was fun,” he said. “It was good to be able to go out there and play some 5-on-5 action and miss some shots and get fouled and foul some guys and get upset sometimes. Those kind of emotions that you feel when you’re playing the game that can only be felt by playing actual game reps. It was awesome to get down there and do that.”

Williams will not have a minutes restriction. His minutes will be based on performance, Triano said. In other words, if Williams plays well, he’ll play more; if not, then he’ll find himself on the bench. It’s no different than how Triano has used any of his other players this season.

For Williams, all he’s wanted this season was to play, no matter how few games that might have meant.

“I want to get out there and play,” he said. “It’s been a long road back and I finally feel confident enough and ready enough to go out there and I think that I can help out. I want to play.”

Warren out, Booker questionable

Once again, the Suns will be without forward T.J. Warren and it’s likely guard Devin Booker will join Warren on the sidelines for the Celtics game.

Warren was not seen at shootaround. This will be the fourth straight game he’s missed due to left knee inflammation.

“I thought this was the game that he was targeting but I don’t know. This morning we were told he’s not going to play,” Triano said.

Meanwhile, Booker will go through his normal pregame routine before deciding if he’s going to give it a go. Booker continues to be bothered by a sprained right hand, which has made even the easy — catching and passing — difficult at times.

“It’s just one of those things that reinjuries,” he said. “You can get it caught on a blanket to just catching a ball. It’s kind of hard to deal with. It feels really good sometimes and I could just bump it just a little bit and it will feel bad again.”

Booker called himself “very questionable” to play. The injury has already cost him the last four games.

“Very hard,” he said about having to sit and watch his teammates. “One, because everyone thinks I’m faking it. They think we’re trying to tank but that’s not the case. I always pride myself on playing and playing through injuries (but) this isn’t one of those ones. I feel it reaggravates a lot.”

Who will be active?

With the NAZ Suns season finished, forwards Danuel House and Alec Peters have rejoined the Suns. They’re both available to play, though one of the two likely won’t be and therefore be ruled inactive should Booker be in uniform.

“I’ll have 13 active bodies tonight — that’s a start,” Triano said.

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