Enes Kanter Show: Kemba Walker has inspirational message for Celtics

Enes Kanter Show: Kemba Walker has inspirational message for Celtics

Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kemba Walker is still ramping up his practice activity but, according to teammate Enes Kanter, he’s been extremely vocal about what the Celtics can accomplish at the NBA’s Orlando restart.

"Actually, we had a [team] meeting and, in the middle of the meeting, [Walker] stepped up and said, ‘Listen, man, we have something really special in this locker room. We are like brothers. So let’s just go out there, let’s compete, have fun, and win this championship. Let's show the whole world that we can do it,’”  Kanter said Wednesday from inside the bubble on “The Enes Kanter Show” podcast.

"Everybody was so gassed up like, ‘OK, let’s go.’”

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Kanter hinted it might not be a coincidence that the Celtics produced what Kanter dubbed the best practice of his nine-year career right around the time of Walker’s statement. Kanter said that Walker has been particularly vocal, even while limited in practice activities while strengthening a sore knee, and said that, when Walker speaks up like that, teammates take notice.

"Kemba, he lets his game talk. That’s like the best way to put it,” said Kanter. "But when he comes out and says, 'OK, hey, we have something very special in our locker room, let’s go out there and show the whole world that we have enough in our locker room to win the whole thing,’ that will for sure get you going, get you excited, gets you like, ‘OK, let’s do this.’”

Enes Kanter Show: Why C's have NBA's best chemistry | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

The Celtics have treaded carefully with Walker after he experienced pain in his left knee after resuming individual workouts in Boston last month. But, this week, he’s engaged in most non-live work, including an hour of practice activity on Tuesday. The team was scheduled to reevaluate him on Wednesday’s offday with hope that he might engage in 5-on-5 work as early as Thursday’s practice.

Kanter consistently said in previous weeks that Celtics fans shouldn’t worry about Walker’s health.

"I was never worried about Kemba, man. He's one of those players that, like, it doesn’t matter how much you take off. When you come back, you still got it,” said Kanter. "And I hate that. Me, I have to work … this dude just comes in, right, starts making those 3s. He makes it look like he never took any days off.

"And I hate that. I had to work five to six weeks to get in game shape. I never worry about Kemba. I know he’s going to come in and do everything he can to get healthy for this team. … He's definitely very excited about [the playoff potential]. He wants to go out there, win, and compete with his team.”

Enes Kanter Show: It could get ugly for opponents when Kemba Walker's healthy

Enes Kanter Show: It could get ugly for opponents when Kemba Walker's healthy

Kemba Walker continues to be eased back into action due to a nagging left knee injury, but his performance through the Boston Celtics' first two games of the NBA restart is encouraging.

Even with limited playing time, Walker has stood out as one of the best players on the court. The C's guard tallied 16 points in 19 minutes vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, and 14 in 22 minutes vs. the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

All signs point to Walker being on the verge of 100 percent, and the thought of that has his Celtics teammate Enes Kanter excited about what's to come.

Kanter raved about Walker in a brand new episode of The Enes Kanter Show and made it clear that opponents will have their hands full with the All-Star when he's fully healthy.

Enes Kanter Show: It could get ugly for opponents when Kemba’s healthy | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which begins Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

"Once he's 100 percent in game shape, like, oh my god. It's going to be ugly for other teams," Kanter said. "Because like, that's Kemba Walker. He was in my draft class. I played against him for nine years and I hated going against him.

"I knew there'd come a day where he's gonna be fine. Even if he doesn't play for months and months, it's just in his blood. He just can go out there and just hoop. He's just a hooper, that's it."

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been extremely cautious with Walker, sticking to a strict minutes restriction through the first couple of games in the Orlando bubble.

Walker understands Stevens' approach and isn't one to complain, but it hasn't been easy for him to watch his Celtics teammates compete without him.

"Oh man, he's dying [for more minutes]," Kanter said with a laugh. "Especially like the last few minutes of the game. I mean, he's a game-changer. He's a leader and a game-changer, you know? He wants to be out there and just take ownership. But now Brad is like, 'OK, this is just the beginning, take it easy. We've got a long way to go.'

"But I think that just shows his heart, man. This dude just signed one of the biggest shoe deals out there. He can just say, 'You know what, I'm just gonna rest.' But no, he just wants to go out there and be with his teammates and win. He even wants to go out there and play 25-30 minutes in exhibition games. That shows character, man. And leadership."

Also discussed on the show: Kanter describes the emotion of players kneeling during the national anthem, Jaylen Brown’s leadership on and off the court, Grant Williams’ basketball IQ, and the inside scoop behind Jayson Tatum’s haircut.

You can listen and subscribe to The Enes Kanter Show here, or watch on YouTube.

Celtics vs. Heat live stream: Watch 2020 NBA seeding game online

Celtics vs. Heat live stream: Watch 2020 NBA seeding game online

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are set to square off Tuesday night in a game that will greatly impact the race for the No. 3 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

The C's enter this matchup as the No. 3 seed with a 2.5-game lead over the Miami Heat, who are playing the second game of a back-to-back following their loss Monday to the Toronto Raptors. A win for the Celtics would give them a 3.5-game lead over the Heat with only five seeding games remaining for each team in the NBA's Orlando bubble. The chances of Miami erasing that kind of deficit in five games would be extremely slim.

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Boston also comes into this game with plenty of momentum. The C's held off a Portland Trail Blazers comeback attempt Sunday afternoon to secure a 128-124 victory. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 34 points and Jaylen Brown chipped in 30 points of his own. Brown scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter, including a couple clutch 3-point shots in the final few minutes.

The C's won the two previous meetings with the Heat this season, including a 109-101 victory in Miami back in January.

NBC Sports Boston has you covered with complete coverage of Celtics vs. Heat, starting at 5:30 p.m. ET with "Celtics Pregame Live". Tip off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston, with complete postgame analysis after the final buzzer on "Celtics Postgame Live".


Celtics Talk Podcast: How much does a healthy Kemba Walker raise the Celtics’ ceiling? | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube


BEFORE THE GAME: At 5:30 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Mike Gorman, Brian Scalabrine, Abby Chin, Kyle Draper, Kendrick Perkins, Chris Forsberg and A. Sherrod Blakely. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Celtics Halftime Live. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.



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