The Boston Celtics defeated the Brooklyn Nets 121-110 on Wednesday in Kemba Walker's first game back since suffering a neck injury on Nov. 22.
Walker had a season-high 39 points in 31 minutes after missing Monday's 103-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Joe Harris had 21 points in a losing effort for Brooklyn, which was playing without Kyrie Irving (shoulder), Caris LeVert (thumb) and DeAndre Jordan (ankle). It marked the seventh consecutive game Irving has missed.
Spencer Dinwiddie: 5/19, 2/8 3PT, 16 points, 11 assists
Joe Harris: 8/13, 5/9 3PT, 21 points, five rebounds
Kemba Walker: 13/24, 6/10 3PT, 39 points, six rebounds, four assists
Jayson Tatum: 5/17, 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists
Jaylen Brown: 9/15, 22 points, 10 rebounds
Kemba Shines in Return from Injury
It took Walker some time to find a rhythm in this contest, as he went 1-of-4 from the field during the opening period. However, it would not be long before he got going.
Walker went 5-of-8 for 13 points in the second quarter:
That helped Boston withstand Brooklyn's three-point barrage, as the Celtics trailed by just six at the half despite allowing 10 triples in the second.
The break did little to slow down the three-time All-Star's momentum. He took over after halftime, dropping 13 points in the first half of the third quarter.
By the time the third quarter came to an end, he had already put up 30 points and had helped the Celtics battle back and regain the lead.
Five other Boston players reached double figures on the night, providing Walker with support. However, it was all about the first-year Celtics guard. He not only made his return to the court, but also showed no lingering effects from his scary neck injury.
Three-Point Barrage Not Enough for Undermanned Nets
Brooklyn trailed by seven after scoring just 23 points in the opening 12 minutes, and then the game changed as the Nets caught fire from deep in the second quarter.
Playing without two of their top four perimeter shooters (LeVert and Irving), Brooklyn knocked down 10 triples while putting up a 40-spot in the second quarter:
The Nets entered Wednesday averaging 12.5 three-pointers per game on the season. They made 12 in the first half alone and 21 for the game. Three players knocked down three-plus treys apiece.
And yet, it was not enough.
The Nets had no answer for Walker on the defensive end. As a result, the absences of Irving and LeVert loomed large, and Brooklyn's team effort came up short.
The Nets (9-9) and Celtics (13-4) will head to the Big Apple for a rematch in Brooklyn on Friday.