Kemba Walker had another quiet outing in the Boston Celtics' loss to the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday, and he was honest with himself when it came to his recent playoff performance.
"I'm just playing terrible, to be honest," Walker said, per ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "Not much I can say, but, I have to be better. I have to do better for this team on both ends of the floor. I have to make better decisions. I just have to make shots overall."
Walker had 19 points, shooting 6-of-19 and just 1-of-9 from three as the Celtics fell to the Heat 117-114 in overtime.
The four-time All-Star and 2018-19 all-league selection was strong in Boston's opening sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers, scoring more than 20 points in all but one game and leading all scorers with 32 points in Game 4 of the series. But in the team's seven-game stretch with the defending champion Raptors, the 30-year-old point guard hit the 20-point plateau just twice, and scored just five points despite playing nearly 52 minutes when Boston lost by three points in a crucial Game 6.
Dating back to that Game 6, Walker is just 13-of-46 from the field and 3-of-22 from beyond the arc.
Of course, the Celtics' struggles stemmed from more than just Walker in Game 1. The Heat came back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime and managed to hold Boston to 41 percent shooting (12-of-29) in the fourth quarter and overtime, and allowed just 2-of-9 shooting from three in the same time frame. In contrast, the Celtics shot 45.7 percent from the floor and hit 13-of-33 attempted three-pointers during the first three quarters of the game.
Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 30 points and 14 rebounds and Marcus Smart tacked on 26 points, but couldn't hold on for the victory.
After a near-sweep of league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the semifinals, the Heat are showing that the top teams in the East cannot underestimate them after all.