Celtics

Kemba Walker finally beats a LeBron James-led team in Celtics win over Lakers

Kemba Walker finally beats a LeBron James-led team in Celtics win over Lakers

BOSTON -- Whenever the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers square off, it’s a big deal. 

And the way Boston absolutely romped over the Lakers by the tune of 139-107, it was the perfect introduction to the Celtics-Lakers rivalry for Celtics newcomer Kemba Walker. 

In addition to snapping the team’s three-game losing streak, Monday’s win for Boston was also the first-ever for Walker against a LeBron James-led team after having come up short in his previous 28 matchups while in Charlotte. 

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“He’s (James) beaten a lot of people,” said Walker who had 20 points and seven assists in the Celtics win. “I bet you, not a lot of guys have a winning record against LeBron James. I’m happy I got one at least before he goes."

Walker added, “Who knows how long he can play; he’s just incredible. It’s only one; one and 28.”

While true, there was a clear and undeniable joy that his new Celtics teammates took in helping Walker get his first win against a team that James played for. 

Marcus Smart said the Celtics players knew before the game that Walker was winless against teams James played for. 

“To his credit, the teams he was on when they played LeBron, they didn’t really have a chance at all,” Smart told NBC Sports Boston. “He was in a lose-lose situation. But, it feels good to finally get that monkey off his back. We’re excited for him. This was a great team win, but we’re really excited for Kemba to be able to get that stigma off him.”

Boston’s Gordon Hayward said he was “super-surprised” when he found out shortly before the game about Walker’s struggles against James-led team.

Hayward added, “I’m glad he finally got one. That’s a tough man to beat, for sure. I’m happy we got him a win.”

And while Walker feels good about getting that first win over James, it’s not like he’s poppin’ bottles to celebrate or anything like that. 

When Walker made the decision to come to Boston and the Celtics and Hornets worked out a sign-and-trade to make it happen, Walker came here looking for a fresh start. 

Beating a team with James on it is very much part of that new beginning Walker came to Boston seeking. 

“I’m with a new team so I’m 1-0 to tell you the truth,” quipped Walker. 

Enes Kanter Show podcast: Back from break healthy, preparing for boos in Utah

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Enes Kanter Show podcast: Back from break healthy, preparing for boos in Utah

It's a 28-game dash to the playoffs for the Boston Celtics that begins in Minnesota Friday night and Enes Kanter is focused on one key element as the C's return to the court for the first time since the weeklong All-Star break.

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"Please stay healthy," the Celtics big man told Chris Forsberg on the latest episode of The Enes Kanter Show podcast. "If we all stay healthy, we can beat every team on every floor."

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When we last saw Kanter, he was limping off the floor late in the C's double-overtime victory over the Clippers. He's been bothered by a hip injury but he said he'll be good to go Friday. 

Also on the mend from a hip issue is fellow big man Robert Williams. Though he won't play on Boston's upcoming four-game trip, Williams has had his practice restrictions lifted and Kanter liked what he saw Wednesday as the C's got back to work.

"Rob was amazing. He can change the game,"  Kanter told Forsberg."He hasn't played for like two months and he got a lob and dunked the ball on his first possession. This is special. He just needs to get into game shape."

Kanter also talked about his 1-on-1 battles in practice with Marcus Smart. 

"It's always good because now the NBA is going small, right?" the 6-10 Kanter said of matching up with the 6-3 guard.  "Marcus Smart is one of the best, if not THE best defender out there. When I go against him, I get better. To be able to go against a small guy and try to guard him, it makes him better and makes me better."

Forsberg captured a portion of their showdown on video:

I always try to get under his skin," Kanter said of Smart, "but he's tough mentally."

This trip takes Kanter and the Celtics to Utah, where his NBA career began from 2011-2015. Will he get a warm welcome from Jazz fans?

"I wonder who's going to get more booed me or [Celtics forward and ex-Jazz star] Gordon [Hayward]? Every time I touch the ball, I get booed there," Kanter said.

Because Hayward is a more recent departure, Kanter said he might be able to escape most of the fans' wrath.

"I feel good this time because I've got Gordon."

Check out the Enes Kanter Show each week on NBC Sports Boston Podcast network. 

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.

Robert Williams travels with Celtics, but won't play on four-game trip

Robert Williams travels with Celtics, but won't play on four-game trip

BOSTON -- There’s a good chance that at some point on Celtics Pregame Live on NBC Sports Boston before the game Friday in Minnesota, viewers will see Robert Williams III on the floor taking shots. 

Don’t get too excited, Celtics fans. 

Yes, Time Lord will be traveling with the team, and yes, that gimpy hip of his is feeling a lot better. 

But coach Brad Stevens says Williams won’t be playing at any point on the four-game trip. 

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.

Still, that he'll be with the team is the kind of progress that indicates his return to games is sooner rather than later. 

Stevens said Williams will another check-up in about a week to make sure that the physical activity that he’s doing between now and then, has not had an adverse effect on his hip which has kept him sidelined for the last 33 games. 

“I’m getting anxious, just knowing I’m a couple of games away,” said Williams. “My first game back, I think is a home game,  so it’s special to me.”

Boston embarks on a four-game trip beginning with Minnesota on Friday, followed by stops in Los Angeles to play the Lakers, then Portland and Utah. The Celtics' next home game is Feb. 29 against the Houston Rockets. 

With no restrictions now at practices, Williams readily admits it can be challenging to contain himself.

“They let me [be] free now, no limitations on anything I’m doing,” Williams said. “So, I want to windmill every time I dunk. But I still have to play it cautious a little bit.”

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.