ORLANDO – More than any other league, the NBA is a stars-driven league. Kemba Walker is not only an All-Star, he was a superstar tonight leading his team to an impressive victory, 109-98.
In a game where Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were out, Kemba Walker accounted for over a third of the Celtics points. Walker poured in 37 points while connecting on 6 threes on 11 attempts and dishing out 6 assists. For Walker, 27 of those points came in the first half of action. Gordon Hayward also made his presence felt as he contributed 22 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists.
“I mean, the main problem was Kemba [Walker] tonight once again. You guys know how over the last few years he’s been just killing us. He’s like a little mouse that you can’t catch. He’s extremely clever with the ball”, said Evan Fournier.
In the Magic’s case, they played great basketball for about 20 minutes. Orlando was dominant on the boards, physical with the Celtics and intent on keeping Kemba out of the paint, however things changed soon after.
Similarly to hidden fees, the box score won’t flat out lie to you, but will omit some of the truth. It is true that Boston outscored Orlando in both quarters for a half-time score of 57-53 as seen in the box score.
What isn’t seen in the box score is midway through the 2nd quarter, Orlando found themselves up 16 points (46-30).
However, by half-time, their lead was cut to 4. The reason, All-Star guard Kemba Walker. Walker scored 19 points in the 2nd quarter alone, beating single and double coverages en route to 27 points by the end of the first half.
“It is a great win for sure. You just get excited about guys just getting the opportunity. Those guys haven’t played much during this year. – Tonight the way they did it and it was perfect timing. Like Javonte’s dunk was perfect timing and we never looked back from there”, said Kemba Walker.
Despite the tough loss, Evan Fournier nearly matched Walker’s output with 30 points of his own.
“On the defensive end, they played harder, tried to deny us a little bit more, and one thing led to another. Yeah. That’s it”, said Fournier on the 2nd half change.
Superstars generally make their teammates better. They have a unique ability to impact the game through the influence of their leadership. It should be noted that Kemba Walker went scoreless in the 3rd period. Yet that was the most dominant quarter for Boston as they outscored Orlando 29-20.
“They got into the zone and I thought we shot the ball a little bit too quick. We didn’t get into our stuff”, said Evan Fournier on Boston’s 3rd quarter.
Since coming off their road trip, Orlando is 0-2 on their home-stand. On Sunday the Magic host the 4th seeded Los Angeles Clippers who are coming off an impressive victory of their own against the Miami Heat.