BOSTON — The Boston pulled off an incredible comeback to beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, and much of that was thanks to Kemba Walker’s scoring punch.
Walker finished with 32 points, six assists and six rebounds on 7-of-19 shooting in the win, collecting 21 points in the second half alone to lead Boston back from a once 19-point deficit. The University of Connecticut product managed to get 15 attempts from the free throw line, something the Celtics struggled with last season, and head coach Brad Stevens noted the importance of this after the win.
“Anytime that you can get a guy that can get on skates like that, and he gets guys on his hip and uses head-fakes, and he’s tough, he’s fearless in the paint … and he has the ability to stop,” Stevens said. “He has the ability to decelerate and boom, pop right up. He gets fouled a lot because of that.”
Walker knows he won’t get to the line that much every time on the floor, but he’s aware of the impact it had Wednesday night.
“I definitely did a great job of getting to the line tonight,” Walker said. “Can’t get used to doing that. Can’t get too used to that. I don’t think I’ll get 15 free throws too often. I think it just kind of slowed the game down a little bit for us. Gave us time to actually push through and make a comeback. … I’m just trying to make plays.”
More importantly, Stevens emphasized Walker’s will to win and the impact he has on his teammates during an up and down game like Wednesday night.
“He’s a warrior,” Stevens added. “That’s one thing you’ve always known that you can really feel in the huddles. The guy wants to win.”
That attitude and focus was something that kept the Celtics in this one, despite things not going their way early on. Walker acknowledged the importance of staying level amid roller-coaster games.
“When you work so hard in the summer on some shots and you miss them, you?re missing shots early, I think it kind of frustrates you,” Walker said. “But you just have to understand that you have to stay in the game. Those shots are going to come for us.”
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Bucks-Celtics game:
— Jayson Tatum grabbed a courtside high five from Paul Pierce after giving the Celtics a late third-quarter lead, something he discussed after the final horn.
“It was crazy. Every time he comes, he always gives us energy,” Tatum said. “Just to see someone like him standing up, yelling, cheering. … He told me, ?Give me five! Give me five!? I was like ?Alright, alright, alright.? It was a great moment.”
Here’s the moment captured:
— Marcus Smart did a great job helping the Celtics contain Giannis Antetokounmpo on Wednesday. The guard said after the win that he knew he was getting to the reigning MVP down the stretch.
“Every time I?m boxing him out, he?s trying to throw me out the way. It lets me know he?s frustrated I?m getting to him.
— The Celtics scored 38 third-quarter points on 13-24 shooting. But it didn’t stop there.
Boston tallied 36 more in the fourth quarter to cap off a 74-point second half. The Celtics outscored Milwaukee 74-47 in the second half after posting just 42 points in the first half on 34.1 percent shooting.