How Ex-Celtic Kemba Walker Fared In First Start With Mavericks

'He played an incredible game for us'


Dec 17, 2022

Former Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker made his first start with the Dallas Mavericks in just his third game with the team on Saturday night. And the four-time All-Star did not disappoint.

In fact, Walker delivered one of his strongest performances in recent seasons. He led all scorers with 32 points to go along with five rebounds and seven assists while shooting 12-of-25 from the field. That contribution was capped off in bitter-sweet fashion as the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled out a 100-99 win in overtime.

Walker was also clutch, supplying the game-tying layup with just three seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Jason Kidd was thrilled and emphasized the trust the Mavericks have in Walker.

“We’ll trust Kemba with the ball late and early,” Kidd said, per video from DallasBasketball’s Grant Afseth. “He played an incredible game for us. And hopefully, he can build on this and we can build with him being able to get him minutes with the starting group and the guys that come off the bench.”

The road to a night like this certainly didn’t come easy for Walker.

Last season with the New York Knicks, Walker — much like with the Celtics — struggled to remain on the floor. After making just 37 appearances (all starts) with the Knicks in which he averaged 11.6 points and 3.5 assists, both sides came to a season-ending agreement in February that ended Walker’s run in New York.

Then in the offseason, Walker underwent a buyout battle with the Detroit Pistons in search of his next team. And after getting waived, the Mavericks made the call.

Overall, Walker proved to show an ability to deliver the Mavericks a much-needed spark. Not just considering Luka Doncic was out before tipoff, Dallas has been a disappointment this season. After the loss, the Mavericks (15-15) remained in the ninth place in the Western Conference.

With the Mavericks shorthanded, the opportunity presents itself for Walker moving forward.

Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images
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