Kemba Walker joined the Celtics for moments like his Game 3 dagger

It was a frigid winter December night in Boston and the Celtics had just polished off another division opponent behind the spirited efforts of their rejuvenated wunderkinds, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Two lockers over, Kemba Walker was beaming like a proud father. Boston’s prized free-agent acquisition, who managed to somehow transform the seemingly catastrophic defections of both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford into a blissful rebirth of positivity and light, had instantly become a trusted mentor to Tatum and Brown and predicted Hall of Fame careers for both.

“I’m just the gatekeeper for those guys,” he said, gesturing to the two young stars. “This is their team, and I’m fine with that.”

Marcus Smart, who overheard Walker’s comments, waved his hand dismissively. “Nah,” he said, pointing to Walker. “That ain’t right. We’re going to need that guy.”

Eight months later, in a playoff bubble in Florida, Walker provided a gentle reminder of his place among the Celtics’ hierarchy. On a night when those long and fluid deep 3s from Tatum suddenly clanged off the rim like cymbals gone horribly out of tune, it was Walker who maneuvered the team, kept it on course, tallied the necessary points in transition.

It was also Walker who took a key charge, ventured into the paint and corralled a team-high eight rebounds and knocked down the kind of shot that franchise players live for.

With the Celtics clinging to a two-point lead over the Philadelphia 76ers with 1:05 left to play, it was the former UConn guard who yearned for so long to return to this playoff stage, who valiantly fought through persistent knee pain that threatened to derail his first season in Boston, who found himself with the ball. Walker dribbled down, surveyed the floor, and took note of the switch that left him staring down the long, lanky 6-foot-10 frame of the former Celtic, Horford.

Walker, his dribble still in play, waited, hesitated, then expertly stepped back and nailed the jumper over Horford’s outstretched arm. Ballgame.

play

0:17

Kemba Walker puts the moves on Al Horford and knocks down a dagger step-back jumper in the waning moments of the fourth quarter of Game 3.

Out with the old. In with the new. The Celtics, up 3-0 in the series after their 102-94 victory Friday night, are one win away from advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals, and their veteran leader has just put together consecutive games of 20-plus points for the first time in his playoff career.

“I’ve made that shot a lot,” said Walker, rocking his peach Air Jordan sweatshirt at the postgame podium. “It’s just another example of it. … I’m just happy I made it.”

Walker, 30, hasn’t had a sniff of the playoffs since 2016, and during that time when his Charlotte Hornets were (again) on the outside looking in, he retreated to the gym, fine-tuned his game and searched for the silver lining amid a new round of disappointing results.

Asked what he missed most during that time, he answered, “The big games, the intensity. It’s just a high level of basketball. The preparation, the game-by-game adjustments, that’s what I missed.

“I’m a winner. I want to play at the highest level, and I’m able to do that now.”

Like his predecessor Irving, Walker came to Boston with a reputation as a scorer but a subpar defender. He vowed to coach Brad Stevens he would buy into the team’s defensive schemes and change the narrative surrounding his shortcomings. After Game 3, Stevens applauded Walker’s defensive effort as loudly as he did the game-clinching jumper.

“He’s a fighter, a competitor, and he’s talked all year about wanting to win,” Stevens said. “[To do that] you gotta be great on both ends. He had multiple really good plays last game and he followed it up. He picked up the ball higher and it was good. I thought Philly played really well, they deserve a lot of credit, they played a really physical, hard-nosed, tough game. And Kemba and our other guys competed on the defensive end, I thought, all night.”

On a night when Tatum and Brown finished a combined 12-for-35 from the field, Walker’s steadying influence was a welcome development. He was having a monster season before his knee woes dampened his effectiveness, causing him to miss 10 games from January to March. Even so, his positivity remained constant and contagious.

“Kemba was who he has always been,” Tatum said. “He was the leader tonight; he carried us. He was special. That’s what we’re going to need, especially on certain nights when guys aren’t playing well.

“He’s obviously more than capable of carrying us to a win. That’s what he did tonight. We needed it. That was a big win for us.”

Walker took great pains to insist the Celtics haven’t won anything yet, that being up 3-0 means absolutely nothing. And yet, what the gatekeeper did on this night felt like much more than that.

Source link

6 thoughts on “Kemba Walker joined the Celtics for moments like his Game 3 dagger

  • September 12, 2020 at 6:38 am
    Permalink

    This can lead to weight gain or well being problems on your
    pet.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2020 at 10:01 am
    Permalink

    Plants do not need any type of pruning. Add
    Succulents To Your Landscape: Succulents
    provide an interesting contrast to regular garden plants as
    well as shrubs. You need to come to be acquainted with the needs of a series
    of garden plants. Succulents consist of the aloe, agave,
    haworthia, aizonaoceae (ice plants), crassulaceae (jade plants, echeverias, kalanchoes, sedums,
    as well as sempervivums), gasteria, sanseveria, and also cactus households, with types of numerous other plant family members
    showing varying levels of succulence, as well. Cacti, agave, aloe, succulents, echeveria, yucca,
    kalanchoe, aeonium, as well as a lot more dry spell tolerant, commonly fleshy leaved desert type supply pictures for xeriscaping, completely
    dry yards and so on. We have thousands extra in supply supply; this is simply an example of our substantial photo library, so email us for customized on-line lightbox
    and high res downloads if your search needs much more photo files to take
    into consideration. Well, allow’s be sincere, this is the kind of
    wreath you might display throughout the year! Succulents and
    publications are just 2 points that make me grin so why not present them together?

    They are really, truly little.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2020 at 4:08 pm
    Permalink

    In very bright light, this cactus takes on a brownish solid.
    Rat Tail Cactus: The Rat Tail Cactus (aporocactus flagelliformis) has thin weak stems that can grow 5 toes lengthy and hang down over the sides of its pot, and its long crimson flowers can final for a number of days.
    Their flowers, which shut at night, are available a
    variety of colors, are sometimes bigger than the plant, and can final up to four or 5 days.
    At each meeting along with a short enterprise assembly,
    we have now a speaker or fascinating exercise,
    members donate plants that are then auctioned off, a small
    desk for promoting gadgets is obtainable,
    and a “Plant of the Month” competitors with judging and critique.
    Login at 11 in case you have submitted plants for the Plant of the Month.
    Plant of the Month! Mini-cacti need sunlight publicity evenly, so rotate periodically to make sure all the plant receives sunlight.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2020 at 4:51 pm
    Permalink

    Growing echeveria from seed is sort of difficult, but it’s not
    an unattainable activity. This species of flowering echeveria,
    the Echeveria Colorata, is a large succulent that grows up to 16″ (40 cm) in diameter. Inside several days or weeks, relying on echeveria species and variety, a small rosette will start forming. Echeverias in order many Sempervivum species are in a position to produce offsets. I have used the sort of propagation for my houseleeks or supervivum since this type produces a lot of offsets. If you’re creative in your use of drought-resistant plants and landscaping you can save your self a lot of money, work, and water. However it may be separated by means of a time when it’s absolutely stabled with its own roots. If it comes right up, it has not yet rooted, and desires extra time. If you live in a hotter area and can start these outside, the growth time might be faster.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2020 at 5:53 pm
    Permalink

    3. After few weeks new roots will begin to develop, then you
    possibly can water it. The fat would principally get trimmed away during
    the butchering, however before then it might protect the meat through the dry-aging interval, often 10 to 14
    days, in which the carcass hangs in a chilly locker whereas pure enzymes break down powerful muscle fiber and tenderize the meat.
    As soon as they’re prepared to enter the bottom nonetheless, most
    are in a position to utterly look after themselves with
    just natural rainfall. It might have when the pot turns into
    gentle AND / OR the leaves look a bit dehydrated wrinkly. I’ve got my parcel and my plants look very dry / withered / wrinkly, why
    is that this? Keep an eye fixed in our e-newsletter and
    social medias to get updated, we may have them very quickly.
    If it doesn’t obtain sufficient sunlight, your plant
    may begin to stretch out, or etiolate. One of the best-wanting succulents are
    grown in good mild with minimal fertiliser
    and with simply sufficient water for gradual growth.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons