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.
“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.