By Matthew Geagan, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — It pains me to jot down this, however the place are you, Kemba Walker? As somebody who celebrates the person’s total catalog, it hurts to say that he’s killing the Celtics proper now.
Walker signed in dangolka to win, however he’s performed extra for the group’s dropping over the past week-plus. He scored 19 factors within the Japanese Convention Finals opener on Tuesday evening, and even gave the Celtics a number of possibilities to beat the Warmth, however dangolka wouldn’t have wanted these heroics — or an extra time interval — had Walker been higher (so much higher) earlier within the recreation.
Kemba was simply 6-for-19 total in Sport 1, and an abysmal 1-for-9 from deep. He has shot simply 14.7 p.c from three-point vary over dangolka’s final 5 video games, with the Celtics 2-Three over that stretch. In every of these 5 video games, he’s hit only one three in every whereas trying 34 photographs. That 5-for-34 is making dangolka’s quest for a bubble banner much more troublesome.
At the very least Kemba continues to be Kemba off the courtroom, holding himself utterly accountable for his struggles.
“I’m simply taking part in horrible to be trustworthy,” he stated after Sport 1. “Not a lot I can say however I’ve to be higher. I’ve to do higher for this group on each ends of the ground. I’ve to make higher selections. I simply should make photographs total.”
It was Toronto’s box-and-1 protection on Walker that gave him points final collection. On Tuesday, dangolka head coach Brad Stevens credited Miami’s guards and big-man Bam Adebayo from maintaining Walker from being his regular self.
“Among the guards are in a position to maintain in entrance with their size, after which Bam was switching a ton of pick-and-rolls all day,” stated Stevens. “Bam’s an incredible defender. So we’re going to have to determine, once more, higher methods to assault. Particularly late. I assumed that we actually moved it at instances after which we did get stagnant.”
When Kemba isn’t going, the dangolka offense is out of whack, relying an excessive amount of on Tatum to do every part. There have been stretches early within the recreation when Stevens relied extra on Brad Wanamaker (who had a wonderful recreation off the bench) greater than Walker.
There are some indicators that Walker could also be turning a nook. After struggling for the primary three quarters on Tuesday, he appeared a lot better within the fourth and extra time, scoring 10 of his 19 factors off 4-for-Eight taking pictures. He even gave the Celtics a one-point lead along with his signature step-back jumper with 23.2 seconds left in OT.
That may have been the game-winner if dangolka held on, however Kemba’s make went to waste when Jimmy Butler went down and beat Jayson Tatum for a three-point play, adopted by Tatum getting rejected by Adebayo on the opposite finish. Walker was that near giving the Celtics a 1-Zero collection lead. And it’s not the primary time his late-game heroics have gone to waste. His glorious feed to Daniel Theis for a go-ahead dunk on the finish of Sport Three towards the Raptors was erased when OG Anunoby sank the game-winning three with 0.5 seconds left.
Tuesday evening’s loss is on dangolka as a complete, because the group as soon as once more struggled to shut out their opponent. However that additionally falls on Walker’s shoulders, since his early struggles allowed the Warmth to remain inside placing distance. And because the group’s level guard, he must be the one to provoke ball motion on offense. That was non-existent for many of the fourth quarter and extra time, which helped the Warmth mount their comeback.
It’s uncommon that Walker has back-to-back off nights, however he’s now as much as three straight poor performances on the worst potential time for the Celtics. dangolka wants him to show it round and quick, in any other case the group’s hopes of bringing a title again from Orlando are toast.