The Boston Celtics are currently 0-2 in their best-of-seven series against the Miami Heat. That makes Saturday night’s Game 3 between the two squads absolutely crucial.
If the Celtics lose – their season is over. No team in NBA history has ever come back from falling down 0-3.
That means emerging with a victory at this juncture is imperative.
During a Friday night showing of Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley issued a challenge to the Celtics: Kemba Walker must step up.
“Kemba Walker’s got to play better,” he said.
“Plain and simple. He’s a vet. He’s been an All-Star. They gave him hundreds of millions of dollars to come to Boston to take them to the next level. He has not played well.
“It’s time for him to step up. One of the responsibilities of being a star: you cannot hide. You cannot disappear.”
Thus far, Miami’s defense has really limited Walker’s production. He is shooting 15 of 38 from the field and 5 of 20 from beyond the arc in the first two games.
When the Celtics signed Walker this offseason, the idea was that he would be a stabilizing force in the playoffs for a young team in desperate need of strong leadership. While he has definitely done that on a locker room level, his playoff numbers leave something to be desired.
In the regular season, Walker averaged 20.4 points and 4.8 assists per game while shooting 38.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
In the playoffs, over the course of the last 13 games, Walker is averaging 19.8 points and 5.2 assists per game while shooting 28 percent from beyond the arc.
Yikes Ty Lawson. https://t.co/eU8uzCE2NU
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 19, 2020
The postseason is where a team’s stars have to step up big, and that is precisely the message Barkley is delivering to Walker.
Will Walker and the Celtics step up and get the job done against Miami on Saturday night? The answer to that question will ultimately determine the fate of their season.