Kemba Walker was taken off the court on a stretcher Nov. 22 against the Denver Nuggets. It was a much different scene Wednesday at TD Garden just five days later.
The Boston Celtics point guard posted a season-high 39 points on 13-of-24 shooting to go along with six rebounds and four assists. It was a ridiculous turnaround after a scary scene left him with a sprained neck, but it’s safe to say Celtics fans were happy to have him back.
TD Garden was geared up for Kyrie Irving’s Thanksgiving Eve return, but the Brooklyn Nets star didn’t make the trip due to a shoulder injury. Celtics fans have plenty of ill will toward their former point guard, and let that be known early with a serious of anti-Irving chants.
But Walker’s play forced them to put those in the rear-view and focus on his incredible play. After all, the Celtics currently sit at 13-4, while Irving’s Nets are an even 9-9.
So yes, we’re sure plenty of Celtics fans were upset they couldn’t jeer Irving tonight at the Garden, but be grateful for Walker, instead. It’s much more fun.
The University of Connecticut product now is averaging 22.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists. The injury didn’t seem to slow Walker down whatsoever, and according to the man himself, he didn’t think about it once.
“If I’m on the court, I’m on the court,” Walker said, per The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach. “That’s really it.”
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s Celtics-Nets game:
— Walker’s big night will take the headlines, and deservedly so, but Jaylen Brown was very solid once again for Boston.
The fourth-year wing had 22 points and 10 rebounds on 9-of-15 shooting for his third consecutive outing of 22 points or more. Over those three games, Brown has 68 points and 24 boards with a 52.2 percent shooting clip. Not too shabby.
Brown’s 20-point, 10-rebound showing was the third time he’s posted such a line in 14 games this season. Through the first 222 games of his NBA career, he had just one such outing, per Celtics stats. To say he’s expanding his game would be an understatement.
Jaylen Brown (22 pts, 10 reb) recorded 20+ points and 10+ rebounds for the third time in 14 games this season
He had one such contest through the first 222 games of his NBA career
— Celtics Stats (@celtics_stats) November 28, 2019
— Brown’s rebounding is very important to the Celtics’ winning ways, and Brad Stevens noted that after the game.
“If our wings don’t rebound, we’re going to be in trouble,” Stevens said, per The Athletic’s Jay King.
Daniel Theis has slid into a role as Boston’s starter at the five, but at 6-foot-8, he likely won’t dominate the glass night in and night out. That means, as Stevens said, Boston’s wings, some of whom are Theis’ size or even a tad bigger, need to do their part by crashing the glass. Brown certainly is doing his part, averaging 7.4 boards per game, up from his career average of 4.1.
— As mentioned, Boston’s fans voiced their displeasure quite often early in this one, which puts Walker in a bit of an awkward position. But the Celtics point guard says he doesn’t pay much attention to it.
“I don’t really pay attention to the Kyrie stuff. That’s just the fans and how they feel,” Walker said, via Himmelsbach. “And of course the MVP chants are really great. It’s always a great feeling to have support from your fan base and I most definitely appreciate this fan base.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images