Celtics

Kemba Walker reflects on his first ejection from an NBA game

Kemba Walker reflects on his first ejection from an NBA game

BOSTON -- Kemba Walker has seen and heard a lot as he plays his ninth season in the NBA. That's what made his ejection from Wednesday’s game against San Antonio all the more surprising. 

Walker was ejected in the third quarter of the Celtics' 129-114 loss to San Antonio after complaining to rookie official Evan Scott about a hard screen set by Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

“I guess he felt I said a little too much,” Walker said. “It’s his choice. It’s on those guys to make those decisions; he made it.”

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Pool reporter Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press spoke with the crew chief Rodney Mott after the game.

When asked what did he see on the play, Mott replied, “In real-time, it’s a difficult play; but we deem the screen to be legal, as LaMarcus was set.”

Mott was then asked what led to Walker’s first technical foul. 

“Per rule, Kemba Walker used profanity towards an official which led to the first technical foul,” Mott said. 

And the second technical foul?

“The same,” Mott said. “He continued to use profanity and was given a second technical foul and ejected.”

At the time, Boston was on a 20-7 run and had cut the Spurs lead to single digits, 76-69, for the first time since early in the first quarter. 

The Spurs’ control of the game only grew after Walker’s ejection -- the first of his NBA career.  

The two techs on Walker, the one on Stevens and a shooting foul that was called against the Celtics on that play resulted in five free throws for the Spurs. They hit four of them and the lead was 80-69.

“Definitely getting ejected, it swung the game right back into their favor,” Walker said. “We were definitely on our way back.”

While the Walker ejection certainly played a significant factor in the game’s outcome, Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn't use that as an excuse for what had been a lackluster performance by his team for the second time in as many games. 

“Whatever the call is, the call is,” Stevens said. “Whatever Kemba said to get kicked out, he said, whatever I said to get a tech I said. But, you know, obviously, there was a lot we could’ve controlled up to that point and after that point and played better."

Stevens is right, of course. 

Still, for Walker’s outburst to result in an ejection seemed excessive, not only because of the play in question but also because of Walker’s NBA track record. 

“This is the first time I’ve been ejected in my life,” Walker said. “I am a two-time Sportsmanship Award winner as well. So maybe I should get a little leeway [in voicing displeasure with a call].

Walker added, “I watch a lot of basketball. I see other guys do a lot worse. But like I said, the choice was his and he made it. He got me out of there. What can I do? Just forget about it at this point. We lost, I got ejected and now we got another one tomorrow [in Philadelphia]. Just want to go out there tomorrow, see what we can do and try and get a win.”

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which tips off Thursday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can stream it here or on the MyTeams App.

Jayson Tatum first to reach impressive Celtics-Lakers milestone since Kobe Bryant in 2011

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USA Today Sports Images

Jayson Tatum first to reach impressive Celtics-Lakers milestone since Kobe Bryant in 2011

The Boston Celtics played against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon. The game was the first installment of one of the league's most storied rivalries since the tragic passing of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Bryant was a beloved figure for many in the NBA, and that included Celtics rising star Jayson Tatum. Tatum has spoken frequently about his admiration for Bryant, his favorite player, and even had a chance to learn from him as a mentor.

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Thus, it's fitting that Tatum reached a milestone that hadn't been reached in a Celtics-Lakers game since Bryant did so in 2011.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Tatum became the first player to drop 40+ points in a Celtics-Lakers game since Kobe.

That's pretty impressive, especially considering that 41 points tied Tatum's career-high mark. It's also worth noting that Tatum was the team's focal point on offense with Kemba Walker out, and still managed to find success despite being defended by LeBron James and Anthony Davis for portions of the game.

Tatum continues to become a superstar right before our eyes, and this dominant outing is certainly one he should be proud of. Perhaps he and the Celtics young core will continue to play well and spice up a Celtics-Lakers rivalry that had largely been dormant since Bryant's retirement.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Tuesday at 9 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Celtics-Lakers Takeaways: Plenty of positives despite C's loss in L.A.

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AP Images

Celtics-Lakers Takeaways: Plenty of positives despite C's loss in L.A.

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LOS ANGELES -- There are no moral victories when you are one of the top teams record-wise in the NBA.

But there’s no doubt the Boston Celtics will take many positives away from their 114-112 loss to the Lakers, which included Jayson Tatum delivering a Black Mamba-like performance with a career-high-tying 41 points. 

Tatum had one last shot to force overtime or help the Celtics steal the win, but he was called for an offensive foul with 0.8 seconds to play that sealed the victory for the Lakers.

The down-to-the-wire finish is not what anyone expected between these two teams, a game that many anticipated the Lakers would win with ease, similar to how Boston smashed them last month by 32 points.

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That loss for Los Angeles last month should have served as added motivation for the Lakers to be at their best.

Los Angeles also came in having won four in a row, along with Anthony Davis (32 points, 13 rebounds) being healthy after having missed the five previous games before the Boston beatdown last month. 

And let’s not forget the Celtics were without their top scorer, Kemba Walker (left knee).

Despite all that going on, this game came down to the wire. 

After three quarters which ended with the score tied at 87, the fourth quarter began with the Celtics getting a basket from Romeo Langford that was goal-tended. 

Moments later, Daniel Theis converted a 3-point play to push Boston’s lead up to five points. 

But the Lakers soon found their stride, regained the lead and put the Celtics in catch-up mode. 

DANIEL THEIS

In the first few minutes of Sunday’s game, Daniel Theis was the primary source of offense for the Celtics. 

And while others certainly had it going offensively more than Theis, he delivered yet another strong game at both ends of the floor. 

His defense was not all that surprising. 

The main reason he is a starter for the Celtics is because of how well he defends both individually as well as providing help and some level of rim protection. 

But more than that, he is becoming a more serviceable option offensively when defenses do a good job of not allowing those around him to have great looks at the rim. 

He finished with 16 points on 6-for-7 shooting along with nine rebounds.

JAYLEN BROWN

We have seen him show his defensive prowess a number of times this season, but the job he did on Anthony Davis in the first half was huge. 

Despite giving up several inches, Brown’s defense didn’t allow Davis to camp in the paint like he wanted to. 

And because of Brown’s quickness, Davis wasn’t able to get great looks from the perimeter as well. 

To the Lakers’ credit, they did a much better job in the second half getting Davis in more advantageous matchups which factored in him putting up a strong game statistically with 32 points and 13 rebounds. 

But that doesn’t take away or diminish the job Brown did limiting one of the more dominant players in the NBA to just eight points in the first half on 4-for-11 shooting with as many made baskets (four) as turnovers (four).

LAKERS BENCH PLAY

With Marcus Smart moving into the starting lineup with Kemba Walker (left knee) out, you knew it would have a significant impact on the production of Boston’s backups. 

Second unit scoring was the one area that the Lakers dominated Boston from the outset before finishing with a 43-11 advantage. 

But that’s not surprising when you consider the Lakers’ success this year is far more dependent on what they get from their second unit scoring-wise comparatively to Boston.

But the one positive for Boston’s second unit was the play of Romeo Langford, who spent time defending LeBron James in addition to making multiple hustle plays offensively. That led to him leading Boston’s bench in scoring with five points. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Tuesday at 9 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.