The Celtics, soon to embark on their journey of returning to the NBA Finals in hopes of this time seizing banner 18, weren’t the best team to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals according to one ex-Boston player.
Antoine Walker, a former Celtic (1996-2003, 2005) and Miami Heat (2005-2007), guest appeared on the “Locked On Heat” podcast and mentioned why he felt as though the Heat were better suited to face the Golden State Warriors in the finals opposed to the Celtics.
You can watch the full podcast here.
“I think they would’ve had a better shot,” Walker said Monday. “I don’t know if they could’ve scored enough to keep up with the Warriors, but defensively, they would’ve been so stingy. That’s why the Heat and the game plan would’ve been a lot different than the Celtics.”
Walker added: “I hate to take away from Golden State but if you go back and watch the film, Boston gave Golden State that championship. … The last two games, you turned over a combined 42, 43 times in two games against a team like Golden State, there’s no way you can win. So you’re really beating yourself.”
Is Walker selling the Celtics short?
The three-time NBA All-Star is correct in acknowledging Boston’s miscues, most notably their turnover issue which amounted to 14.6 per game in the seven-game series against Miami. However, one factor within the series can’t be ignored, Jimmy Butler in Games 2, 3, and 5 — a stretch in which Butler, Miami’s No. 1, averaged seven points and 1.5 assists while shooting 27.3% from the field in 23.5 minutes per game. Not to mention Butler played 40 minutes in Game 5 while shooting 22.2% from the field on 18 attempts. A noteworthy stretch in which Miami went 1-2 against Boston.
In 2006, Walker partook in his first and only NBA championship with the Miami Heat, alongside Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal.