The 12-4 Boston Celtics hosted the 9-8 Brooklyn Nets on November 27th, 2019 in front of nineteen thousand strong at TD Garden for the nationally televised clash. As anticipated, Kyrie Irving would not be available due to shoulder soreness which made a bulk of the pre-game chatter leading up to the game. However, it was Kemba Walker‘s return to the lineup that was the headline after a scary fall in Denver just five days prior.
With the game starting off slow for the Celtics down 0-5, it was Kemba Walker who laid down a perfect dime to Daniel Theis for the two-handed stuff to get Boston on the board. Kemba continued to get others involved as he knifed through the key with precision and spotted Marcus Smart open for a corner triple as Boston took the lead 15-14. Second year big man Robert Williams would set a great pick for Kemba as he rose for an open 2-pointer at the top of the key to end the quarter.
In a back-and-forth first half, Brooklyn managed to get out on top of the Celtics 41-44 with 5 minutes to go in the half until Kemba woke the crowd up. Walker would dribble past Garrett Temple and nail a straight on three pointer at the top of the key. A play later, he crossed up Temple again and made a stunning 360 spin move past Joe Harris to finish with the off-hand over Nets big man Jarrett Allen. Not finished, Kemba Walker hit another three off a clever Daniel Theis pick to get The Garden hopping.
Into the second half, Walker was in complete control. He danced with the ball at the top of the key around Spencer Dinwiddie. Spencer tried to sell an illegal screen on Robert Williams as he fell to the ground as Walker stepped into a three pointer with confidence. Dinwiddie and Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson would argue the call just as the ball went through the net.
It would be a defensive night to forget for Garrett Temple who was tasked with slowing down Kemba Walker. At the 9:50 mark in the 3rd quarter, Daniel Theis set another brilliant pick to get Kemba an open three pointer as the Celtics attempted to claw back in a see-sawing affair. Not content on helping just on the offensive side alone, Walker lunged for a brilliant steal from a cross court fast ball that saw him collide with Kenny Atkinson and result in a fast break 2-point bucket for Jaylen Brown in the key.
Kemba would then attack the paint with pace as he got downhill on Jarrett Allen and put some big-time English on the ball to spin home a lay-in as he careened into the cameraman under the bucket and finished the three-point play. The Nets put literally everyone on Walker in the third quarter as the point guard darted away from Dinwiddie in a cat-and-mouse game to land a three pointer and take him to 30 points to tie the game 78-apiece. Brooklyn would hit a staggering 21 three pointers in the game but that wouldn’t be enough.
Kemba Walker’s 33rd point was a dagger in Joe Harris’ grill as the crowd rose in appreciation. His 35th point was a dance into the key before stepping back for an elbow jumper over Harris who was left helpless. His 37th was another elbow jumper over Jarrett Allen as the crowd erupted and Kenny Atkinson called a timeout, but it was all but over as the Celtics led 11 with under two minutes remaining. Kemba Walker’s final two points would be earned at the stripe in a classic performance.
In the first of four scheduled meetings between the two teams, it was the diminutive All-Star point guard who put the Celtics on his shoulders down the stretch. Brooklyn’s 4-game win streak would be halted as Kemba Walker would end the game with a standing ovation from the adoring Boston crowd, subbing out with 39 points on 13-24 from the field with 6 three pointers, a perfect 7-7 from the line, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.