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Inside Celtics Locker Room: Kemba Walker returns and Kyrie Irving missing

Walker drops 39 on Brooklyn and Marcus Smart pokes another ball loose from the top of the basket.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving did not travel to Boston for his potential return but a Nets team that entered undefeated without him received an overwhelming performance from Irving’s replacement in Boston. Walker torched the Nets’ defense alongside another 20-point night for Jaylen Brown as the Celtics remain undefeated (7-0) at home in 2019-20.

They’re off to Brooklyn, where they may get their chance to face an old teammate. Brown is excited for the potential meeting, Walker hasn’t thought much about him. Stevens, who spoke extensively on the topic pregame, is ready to move on and believes Irving received singular scrutiny for a team failure.


Brad Stevens: “We knew when that ball was stuck tonight there was only one man to get it down.”

Several things impressed Stevens in Boston’s win over Brooklyn: the effort to keep Jarrett Allen off the boards, Walker keeping the Celtics in the game in the second quarter and Smart poking a ball loose above the basket for the second straight night. “We’re all very happy that Kemba’s ok ... for him to be playing and even feeling fresh is good.”


Kemba Walker: “I’m over it. I could’ve played last game honestly.”

Walker exited the Pepsi Center on a stretcher five days ago and returned to drop nearly 40 points on Brooklyn. He could’ve returned against the Kings, miraculous given the serious nature of the injury.


The Garden Report on —

Kemba Walker: 39 points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal on 13-for-24 shooting and 6-for-10 from deep, with seven makes at the line in his return from a scary injury.


Kyrie Irving Instagram post: Clevis Murray backed Irving, with some interesting thoughts on how people view the Celtics and Irving parting ways