Celtics star Kemba Walker is accepting the blame for the team’s Game 4 loss to the Raptors on Saturday, calling his nine field-goal attempts “unacceptable,” Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com writes.
Walker finished with 15 points and eight assists in nearly 41 minutes of action, shooting just 4-of-9 from the floor (1-of-6 from deep). To compare, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown attempted a combined 36 shots, with Tatum connecting on 10 and Brown making just four.
“I got to be more aggressive,” Walker said, as relayed by Bontemps. “I wasn’t aggressive enough. That’s unacceptable on my behalf, to be honest. There’s no way I can just be taking nine shots. That’s unacceptable.”
The Raptors were led by Pascal Siakam, who recorded 23 points, 11 rebounds and two assists in over 45 minutes of work. Toronto has regained momentum after OG Anunoby‘s game-winning shot in Game 3 and a gutsy performance in Game 4, tying the series 2-2 with Game 5 on Monday.
“It’s tough, man,” Walker said. “Obviously, we didn’t want to come out that way, but it just happened. We’ve just got to clean it up. We’ve got to find a way, man. We’ve got to be better. I have to be better. I have to find a way to get my teammates at a higher intensity, and I will. I’m going to try my best to bring the best out of these guys.
“Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. We know how the playoffs is, and these are the defending champs. These guys have been through it. These guys have been through it. They’ve been through the fight before. They’ve been down before. They know what it takes.
“But I can’t stress enough how much we just have to be better.”
Here are some other notes from the Central Division:
- The Bucks will need more than a Most Valuable Player to win the NBA championship, ESPN’s Eric Woodyard writes. Milwaukee has struggled against a well-coached and disciplined Heat team, trailing 0-3 in the series with little sign of bouncing back to this point. “You have to fight and scrap for everything because [the opponent knows] exactly who you are,” Bucks veteran Kyle Korver said. “We know all of each other’s tendencies, and you develop this like … whether it’s real or not, this personal match with the guys that you’re guarding. That stuff is real. This is seven games in a row and there’s no secrets. If we call out the play, they call out the play. They know exactly where we’re gonna go, what we’re trying to accomplish, and it just magnifies as the series goes on.”
- The Pistons‘ future looks bright with the hiring of Troy Weaver as general manager, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes. Weaver is known for having an eye for young talent, helping draft the likes of Darius Bazley and signing Luguentz Dort as an undrafted free agent during his time with the Thunder. Both players have impressed in Oklahoma City since joining the team, as Weaver joins a Pistons franchise that will likely start rebuilding.
- Sam Smith of NBA.com examines potential Bulls coaching candidates, free agents, and more in his latest mailbag. Chicago has begun a wide-ranging search for the franchise’s next head coach, with the team accruing just a 22-43 record while failing to reach Orlando this season.