Celtics

Kemba Walker sees his role with the Celtics to help Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown get 'to another level'

Kemba Walker sees his role with the Celtics to help Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown get 'to another level'

BOSTON -- Before Jayson Tatum left the Celtics' 119-95 blowout win over Memphis on Wednesday night with a groin injury, he was the best player on the floor.

Two nights earlier, Tatum was once again in basketball-assassin mode in a 32-point drubbing of the Los Angeles Lakers. 

As Tatum went about burying one big shot after another in both games, pushing both Memphis and the Lakers into an abyss that they never could quite escape from, Kemba Walker wasn’t too far away, smiling at the masterful work being put in by his teammate. 

Taking over games is something that Walker has done for most of his career. 

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In Boston, Walker acknowledged he’s looking for company, which is why he encourages Tatum to have a more dominate-the-moment mentality. 

“He just has to become that killer, which he is,” Walker said. “It’s so fun to watch him and Jaylen; it’s so fun to be a part of their growth. But yeah, Jayson, he’s getting better each and every game. I’m just trying to have him embrace when it’s time to take those games over. I always tell him, ‘take over. Go get us this win. Keep scoring.’ he’s gotta become that killer.”

And the path towards having that mercenary-like mindset when it comes to taking games over is what separates good players from the greats. 

Tatum has never been coy about expressing his desire to be among the best in the NBA.

Brown, who has missed three of the past four games with a thumb injury and ankle sprain, has also made his goal of being an elite, two-way player known. 

Both have been instrumental in the Celtics’ success this season which has led to the duo being mentioned prominently as potential first-time All-Stars next month in Chicago. 

Tatum is the Celtics' No. 2 scorer, averaging 21.5 points along with 6.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. 

Brown isn’t too far behind as the No. 3 scorer, averaging 20.0 points per game to go with 6.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. 

And while Walker arrived in Boston with the goal of helping lead the Celtics back to the top of the East, he knows he can’t do it alone. 

He has a killa’s mentality when it comes to playing, an attitude he wants to see more of from Tatum and Brown going forward. 

“These my brothers,” Walker said. “I want to see them succeed. I want them to be at their best. I’ve had a pretty good career so far. But, I’m also here to help and just really get guys to another level. Yeah, that’s what I want to do. I want to be part of things like that. Those two dudes, Jaylen and Jayson to be specific, are really special, very special.”

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Friday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics vs. Blazers odds: Best NBA picks with two All-Star guards out

Celtics vs. Blazers odds: Best NBA picks with two All-Star guards out

The Boston Celtics have had some trouble with Western Conference opponents this season. 

Will the Portland Trail Blazers continue that trend?

The Celtics enter Tuesday's game in Portland with a 14-8 record against the West, compared to a 25-9 mark against Eastern Conference foes. They've also lost three of their last five road games versus West opponents -- their latest a one-point defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday -- and will be without Kemba Walker for the third consecutive game.

The good news for Boston? The Blazers won't have star point guard Damian Lillard due to a groin injury and have lost four of their last six.

Here are our betting predictions for Celtics-Blazers, as well as our two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

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.

Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET

Moneyline: Jayson Tatum is on an absolute tear, with 30-plus points in four of his last six games. The Celtics (-310) are 8-2 over their last 10 games and should take care of business as long as Tatum shows up.

Point Spread: The Blazers are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games and failed to cover without Lillard in Sunday's win over the Detroit Pistons. The Celtics (-7.5) , meanwhile, have covered in six consecutive games as a favorite.

Point Total: Portland hasn't allowed fewer than 100 points since early January, while four of Boston's last five games have hit the over. I'll go OVER again on 223.5 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 75-44-1 (62.5% success rate)

NBA Lock of the Night

Milwaukee Bucks (-1) at Toronto RaptorsYes, the Bucks just played an overtime game in Washington on Monday night. Yes, the Raptors are one of the hottest teams in the NBA. But Milwaukee is 49-8 for a reason. I'll take the best team in the NBA in a virtual pick 'em.

New Orleans Pelicans (+7.5) at Los Angeles LakersZion Williamson and his band of Lakers cast-offs (Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart) rolling into Staples Center and pulling off the upset? I could see it. Either way, the Pelicans should keep this close.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 38-40-1 (48.1% success rate)

How Tacko Fall, Tremont Waters fared for Red Claws vs. Capital City Go Go

How Tacko Fall, Tremont Waters fared for Red Claws vs. Capital City Go Go

Basketball fans in the nation's capital got an up-close look at Tacko Fall on Tuesday, and the 7-foot-5 standout delivered in a big way on Tacko Tuesday.

Fall racked up a double-double before the Red Claws and Capital City Go Go even headed into the locker rooms at halftime, helping Maine to a 125-93 victory.

Here's how Fall and Tremont Waters performed:

TACKO FALL

Fall filled up the stat sheet with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go along with a career-high 20 rebounds (seven offensive boards) and five blocks.

It's his 15th double-double of the season and fifth this month.

TREMONT WATERS

Waters chipped in 16 points and four assists, the 20th time in his last 21 games he's reached double figures in scoring

Jaysean Page led Maine with 27 points, while Bryce Brown added 24 in the 32-point victory

The Red Claws return to action with a home game against the Lakeland Magic at 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Portland Expo Center.

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.