How Celtics' win over Nets revealed team MVP through Thanksgiving

Nick Friar
November 28, 2019 - 6:30 am
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In the win over Brooklyn, two Celtics received MVP chants — in between the plethora of anti-Kyrie Irving chants. Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart.

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Walker went off for 39 points on 13 of 24 shooting (6-for-10 from three and 7-for-7 at the line).

Once again, Smart displayed his ability to get whatever task that needs doing done by retrieving the ball with a broom when it got stuck behind the backboard for the second time in as many games.

“I never knew he had (that ability),” Brad Stevens said after the win. “And then you saw it the other night. It’s just another, you know, unbelievable quality that we can celebrate. And over-celebrate. I mean, he’s one of a kind. But, we knew when that ball got stuck today, there was only one man to get it down.”

Walker felt the whole scene was a fitting encapsulation of Smart.

“He does everything,” Walker said. “That’s a perfect example of who he is to this team, to this organization, to this city. It’s definitely well-deserved and that’s a perfect example.”

Smart does a lot of good for this team. He’s an essential piece. As much as his fifth in scoring, what Smart brings on the defensive end might make him one of the three most important players on Boston’s roster.

But he’s not the team MVP. Jaylen Brown has been consistent and Jayson Tatum has made some big shots, but they aren’t either. Gordon Hayward can’t be at this point, he’s only played in eight games.

It’s Walker. His performance in the 121-110 win was an example of why. (For a complete recap of the Celtics' win, click here.)

As much as Smart leads with his emotions — or, sometimes, he flat out tells his teammates what to do — Walker leads with his talent. Even on the nights where he’s not efficient with his shooting, he finds ways to help his teammates score. He breaks down defenses off the dribble or makes the right pass — whatever is needed on that end of the floor, he does it. Then he can get back on defense and draw a charge.

When it comes his game against the Nets specifically, Walker had Brooklyn’s defense guessing at every turn. He scored in all three phases and got to the line a fair amount. Jarrett Allen is one of the better shot blockers in the league, yet Walker had his way with him.

Other Celtics can be the leading scorer or make the big play on any given night, but Walker is the one who can change things in a blink a take over like no one else on this roster.

Walker set a season-high with his 39 points. It’s the fourth time he’s scored 30-plus points for the Celtics.

He scored 30-plus points 28 times last year. In seven of those performances, Walker scored 40 or more points.

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