Celtics

Kemba Walker's impact on Celtics about more than just scoring

Kemba Walker's impact on Celtics about more than just scoring

BOSTON -- When Kemba Walker arrived in Boston, he came with a well-earned reputation for scoring…a lot. 

In eight seasons, he had already amassed enough points to be the Charlotte Hornets' all-time leading scorer.

Still, as we’ve seen this season, there’s more to Walker’s game than lighting up the scoreboard.

The 119-95 win over Memphis on Wednesday night was one of those games, in which Walker’s play highlighted his ability to impact the game in ways that don’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. 

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.

The Grizzlies threw a multitude of defensive looks at Walker, leaving him little choice but to play more off the ball in the hope that the attention paid to him would open things up for his teammates. 

Indeed, those around Walker are benefiting by his presence and poise the past two games, both of which saw the Celtics (29-14) win easily and do so by shooting north of 50 percent from the field. 

“He [Walker] did a good job,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “A couple times, he opened up [Daniel] Theis for shots. He opened up other guys for hand-offs because the defense was so sunk. He set a couple of nice back-screens that we didn’t end up converting but…he’s gonna see so many types of defenses.”

The way Walker adapted to the ever-changing tactics of the Grizzlies defensively, served as a reminder as to why he is a three-time All-Star on the cusp of being a four-time selection for the game next month in Chicago. 

“That’s how you know you’re a really good player, is when people throw you a bunch of different looks,” Stevens said. “He handles it really well.”

Walker, who had eight points on 2-for-9 shooting with four assists, three rebounds and two blocked shots, has embraced the fact that he will have nights when the opposing team will make it tougher than usual for him to score the way he’s accustomed to. 

Rather than forcing the issue, Walker makes contributing in other ways - like setting good screens, making the “hockey assist” or blocking shots - a more central part of his game. 

“We have so many threats on the perimeter,” Walker said. “And you know, every night is not going to be a great night for me. The special thing about this team is, multiple guys can have huge nights. When it’s not my night, it’s just not my night. And I’m definitely willing to accept that.

Walker added, “When I’m not playing at my best offensively, I have to do other things in order to help this team win. I just try to bring enthusiasm, energy, just great leadership to the game.”

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.

Watch the teaser for Kevin Garnett's upcoming Showtime documentary

Watch the teaser for Kevin Garnett's upcoming Showtime documentary

The first teaser for Kevin Garnett's upcoming Showtime documentary dropped Monday, and it looks like a must-watch for basketball fans.

In the trailer, KG tells a story about encountering NBA legends Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen at a gym in Chicago in 1995 and how that was where he found out he could enter the NBA Draft straight out of high school.

"We get in there, Mike Jordan in there. Scottie Pippen was in there," Garnett says.

"I jumped in, I tied my [shoes] up, and then Jordan was like 'let's go.' I just remember Pippen saying that I was too young to be out here ... and it was Isiah Thomas like, 'I saw you play Scottie Pippen, you could play in the league right now. And when he said that, the world stopped ... He said, 'Boy, do you know you can go to the league from high school?'"

Watch below (video contains explicit language):

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.

Knowing how great of a storyteller Garnett is, this documentary definitely won't lack in entertainment value.

The last couple of weeks certainly have been notable for KG. On Feb. 13, the Celtics revealed they will retire his No. 5 jersey. The following day, Garnett was named as a finalist for the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame class.

Showtime's Garnett documentary is set for a Fall 2020 release.

NBA Power Rankings: How things change after All-Star weekend

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBA Power Rankings: How things change after All-Star weekend

BOSTON -- The 69th NBA All-Star delivered something we haven’t seen in quite a while - a competitive game. 

The final score, a 157-155 win for Team LeBron, underscores how the NBA found the cheat code in balancing entertaining basketball with a legitimately competitive game. 

There will likely be some tweaks made for next year’s game (suggestion: Games have to end on a field goal made, and if a team fouls a player when the game is within one possession, the player has to go to the bench for the rest of the game).

Now that the All-Star game is in the rearview mirror of the season, the focus for many shifts almost entirely towards the postseason. 

The last week leading up to the All-Star break did little to shake up the upper chambers of the NBA standings, but the jockeying among teams with middle-of-the-pack status, as well as those on the outside of the playoff picture looking to get in, will provide much of what we saw in the All-Star game - a competitive, entertaining brand of basketball.

Click here for A. Sherrod Blakely's NBA Power Rankings