With Kings next, Celtics hope Kemba Walker will be available

NBA Basketball

Boston guard Kemba Walker played a season-high 31 minutes on Tuesday night, and he might be dressed in street clothes when the Celtics visit the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

Walker hasn’t played on consecutive nights this season, but coach Brad Stevens didn’t rule out the possibility after Boston’s 111-107 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. The win came in the opener of the Celtics’ five-game western swing.

Of course, Walker’s availability will depend on how his troublesome left knee is feeling. Trainers will surely examine him closely to see if the knee looks ready for a second straight night of pounding on the court.

Walker has played in just seven games this season and is still rounding into form while averaging 15 points per game.

Walker scored 19 against Golden State but hit just 6 of 18 field-goal attempts. Still, that was an improvement from his awful 1-of-12 effort while scoring a season-low four points Saturday in the Celtics’ 96-95 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

So naturally, Walker felt he took a welcome step forward.

“After tough ones, you have to bounce back,” Walker said. “I’m not perfect. I wish I was. I just want to do what I can to help us win.”

Stevens saw the look on Walker’s face prior to the Tuesday game and sensed he was ready to rebound from the Saturday showing.

“You could tell he was waiting for another chance to play,” Stevens said. “I thought he did a good job. … I’m sure he would say he would have liked to have shot it better, but I think he looked good.”

It was a much-needed win after Boston dropped five of its previous seven contests.

The Celtics’ Jayson Tatum recorded 27 points and nine rebounds against the Warriors. Fellow star Jaylen Brown scored 18 points, just shy of his 11th consecutive 20-point outing.

Boston, on the latter end of the back-to-back, will have to contend with the speed of dynamic Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox.

Fox poured in 38 points Monday during Sacramento’s 118-109 comeback road victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

The rising star took over the game with a 3-pointer with 7:07 left to begin a stretch in which he scored 17 straight Sacramento points over a span of 6:34.

The explosive effort marked Fox’s second-highest outing of the season and raised his scoring average to 22.1.

“Just trying to do whatever it takes to put us on top, and sometimes it’s hitting another gear in the fourth (quarter),” Fox said. “When it’s time to make plays, you’ve got to be ready.”

Fox outscored New Orleans all by himself in the final quarter as the Kings finished with a 31-15 flurry to post their fourth win in five games.

Fox is averaging 28.3 points and 8.4 assists over the past seven games. He logged 12 assists against the Pelicans, one shy of his season high.

“I think he’s proven he’s taken that next step,” Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton said of Fox. “He’s been an All-Star this year.”

Harrison Barnes scored 24 points against New Orleans and big man Richaun Holmes added 17 points and 10 rebounds and had a career-best six blocked shots for the third time this season.

Sacramento will play seven of its next eight games at home. The lone road outing is a short plane flight to Los Angeles to play the Clippers on Sunday.

Boston has won eight of its past 10 meetings with Sacramento.

–Field Level Media

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