Celtics-Wizards Instant Overreactions: C's missing Kemba Walker's spark

Celtics-Wizards Instant Overreactions: C's missing Kemba Walker's spark

This Wednesday is Marcus Smart Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Smart throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Spurs-Celtics.


The Boston Celtics saw their three-game win streak come to an end Monday night as they fell to the Washington Wizards, 99-94.

It was a sloppy one all around for the C's as they turned the ball over 16 times and simply couldn't get the easy shots to fall throughout the game.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Here are three instant overreactions from C's loss, which brings them to 25-9 on the season:

1. Celtics are missing Kemba Walker's spark.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Walker missed his third straight game with an illness, and once again his absence was noticeable.

The Celtics have gotten off to slow starts in all three of their games without Walker. They managed to get away with it against the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls, but couldn't get the job done Monday night against a shorthanded Wizards team that possesses one of the worst defensive units in the league.

Boston will hope to have their star point guard back in the lineup when they take on the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

2. Marcus Smart needs to cool it with the 3s.

Verdict: Overreaction

Smart, not exactly known as a dead-eye shooter, jacked up a game-high 10 3-point attempts and only hit three of them. And that's OK.

As mentioned in Overreaction No. 1, the Celtics needed any kind of spark in what was a sluggish showing from tipoff to the final buzzer. Smart, as he tends to do, tried to provide that spark.

It was a lackluster shooting night for pretty much every C's player not named Jayson Tatum, who had 17 points on 8-for-20 shooting. Jaylen Brown struggled mightily before finally heating up toward the end of the game, finishing with 23 points (7-for-22).

3. Celtics should trade for Davis Bertans.

Verdict: Overreaction

A report surfaced on Monday stating the C's are suitors for Wizards forward Davis Bertans. We didn't see Bertans in this game due to a quad injury, but we didn't need to see him in order to know Boston trading for him would be the wrong move.

If the Celtics are going to trade an impactful player before the Feb. 6 deadline, it should be a center. Bertans' price tag is going to be far too high to warrant a deal for a scorer off the bench, especially when this is a C's team that already has a surplus of wing players capable of putting up points.

Bertans is averaging 15.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season.

Forsberg: Celtics a perfect diversion for sad Patriots fans

Don't miss Marcus Smart Day and NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Spurs, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike and Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Jalen Rose reveals why he predicts Celtics will win Eastern Conference

Jalen Rose reveals why he predicts Celtics will win Eastern Conference

The hype is starting to build around the Boston Celtics.

Less than 24 hours after the NBA announced a 22-team season return plan that will take place in Florida beginning in July, a prominent NBA analyst has predicted the C’s will get back to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Celtics news and analysis

ESPN’s Jalen Rose was on Thursday’s edition of “NBA Countdown” and had some positive comments on the Celtics and why he thinks they’ll win the Eastern Conference.

“In a neutral situation, the way the season is about to be shotgun started again, I’m taking the Celtics in the East,” Rose said. “I’m taking the Celtics in the East, because one of the great things about the Bucks – of course, their game does travel – but their home court was a huge advantage for them, a major advantage. If we’re playing pickup ball, and the Celtics and Bucks players are in the gym, I’m going to pick Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the next four or five picks are going to be Celtics. That’s my choice to come out of the East.

The Bucks have played well pretty much everywhere this season and lead the East with a 53-12 record, but Rose is right, they are definitely better at home. Milwaukee owns the second-best home record in the East at 28-3. The Celtics own the third-best road record in the conference at 20-12.

But Rose doesn’t just like the Celtics because they can win on a neutral court. He also pointed to Boston’s roster construction and style of play as reasons why it could surprise people in this unusual playoff setting.

“I’m loving teams like the Celtics and the Rockets,” Rose said. “Small ball, spread it out and take advantage of the big guys that can’t score against little guys. That’s really what it’s gonna be. It’s gonna be like AAU out there. These dudes have been off for months, so if dudes like Russell Westbrook and James Harden can get hot – he’s averaging 40 and then Russ? Boston’s winning the East. The more I think about this — God, strike me down. I hadn’t said this out of my mouth or even thought about it one time until we had this conversation, until right now. Boston’s winning the East, and don’t sleep on Houston in the West, but they’re not better than the Lakers or the Clippers.”

The Celtics are well-equipped to win the Eastern Conference. They are the only team in the conference with three players averaging 20-plus points per game. Jayson Tatum leads the team with 23.6 points per night, and before the shutdown he was taking his game to a superstar level. Kemba Walker is another go-to scorer, and the long layoff has given his knee ample time to build strength. Jaylen Brown also was having a breakout season, and Gordon Hayward was playing at an All-Star level for long stretches. Boston’s bench also is quite deep, with head coach Brad Stevens often giving minutes to nine or 10 guys each game.

Boston also has shown an ability to win against elite teams. The C’s have beaten the Bucks, Lakers, Clippers, 76ers, Raptors, Nuggets and several other top teams at least once in 2019-20.

One of the most exciting things about this NBA season has been its unpredictability. We have five or six teams, and maybe more, with a legit chance of getting to the NBA Finals, and we rarely see that in today’s era. It’s going to make for a wild playoffs, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if one or two teams make a surprisingly deep run and pull off a few upsets.

Celtics At Home: Grant Williams details life as Kemba Walker's roommate

Celtics At Home: Grant Williams details life as Kemba Walker's roommate

Boston Celtics teammates Grant Williams and Kemba Walker haven't been able to step on the court together for the last couple of months, but they've still seen plenty of one another since the NBA season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walker extended Williams an offer to live with him at his house in Charlotte, North Carolina during quarantine, and the rookie gladly accepted. Williams recently talked about his experience living with Walker, saying "it’s been amazing" and the two have gotten to know each other much better over the last few weeks.

In NBC Sports Boston's latest edition of "Celtics At Home," Williams talked to Abby Chin about who has been taking care of all of the cooking and cleaning during his time living with Walker.

"I actually just let the dogs out to use the bathroom outside right before I got on this call," Williams told Chin. "In regards to cooking and cleaning, we're pretty clean people. So we do our best to keep everything tidy. But cooking, he has his own chef and she does a phenomenal job of taking care of the both of us now and I'm thankful for her, Chef Chianti, and I thought about hiring her too. We're enjoying that, and the times we're on our own we just kind of either order something or make. Kemba's not that bad of a cook and I'm not either so we've been enjoying the time."

As for his favorite meal to make?

"I love cooking Asian stir fry," Williams answered. "I add a lot of things to it, my dad taught me how to make it. Then there's these dirty green beans we make and all this other stuff that we have, so those are probably my two favorite."

Williams also chats with Abby about the impact on his body the NBA has vs. college, his biggest non-basketball accomplishment, and more. Also joining us on the latest episode of "Celtics At Home" are Cedric Maxwell, Sean Grande, Kyle Draper, and Brian Scalabrine for a game of Celtics Census.

Watch the full "Celtics At Home" episode below, or on our YouTube page: