Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Knicks, which tips off Saturday at 7 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.
The Boston Celtics were able to earn their first win of the season in their home opener. Playing against the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors, the Celtics were able to power themselves to victory thanks to a strong fourth quarter. In the period, they turned a six-point deficit into a six-point lead, and Kemba Walker was a big part of that.
Walker scored 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and his effort on the defensive end helped to spark the team. But Walker himself was sparked by the TD Garden crowd.
"It was everything I imagined," Walker said of his home debut to NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin. "These fans are incredible. So much energy in the building. (In the) first half, I felt the energy. I was a little bit hype and the adrenaline was pumping. I just needed to calm down, but man, I just have to -- I can't say enough about my teammates, my coaching staff. They just kept me up. They kept my confidence up, kept telling me to be myself. Keep shooting the ball. I really appreciate those guys for sure."https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQkMBKC9OLY
The Celtics certainly played well, and they moved the ball aggressively in the fourth quarter and often were able to find the open man for a shot. They finished the day with 21 assists but even more impressively, they generated extra offensive possessions by playing hard and grabbing 21 offensive rebounds.
After the game, Walker said that the Celtics learned something about themselves expressed confidence in the team's performance.
"We're resilient," Walker said. "We're tough. You know, we have guys that just play basketball. We play together. When things aren't going well, we stay together. That's what's important. There's going to be a lot of ups and downs this season but the thing that's most important is us just staying together all year."
The Celtics were also strong on the defensive side of the ball, creating 23 turnovers and drawing a number of offensive fouls. Walker managed to total two steals and two blocks and he credited his effort on that end of the floor for helping break him out of a shooting slump in the second half.
"You know, sometimes when you struggle on offense, all it takes is a few plays defensively to kinda get you going," Walker said. "I was struggling. I didn't want to stop, I didn't want to let me offense dictate my defense."
We'll soon see if Walker can continue to make strides as the season continues. The Celtics will travel to New York to take on the Knicks on Saturday and they will hope to click as well as they did in Friday night's game.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.