Gordon Hayward, Celtics not blaming Kemba Walker for last-second loss to Thunder
Kemba Walker’s late turnover on Sunday certainly cost the Boston Celtics the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. But as far as the rest of his teammates are concerned, the blame should not be put on his shoulders alone.
Per Jay King of The Athletic, Gordon Hayward — along with other Boston players — came over to Walker inside the locker room to lift his spirits after the late turnover. The group made it clear that the Celtics lost the game as a unit, rather than that costly mistake in the end game.
Gordon Hayward said a bunch of Celtics players said something to Kemba Walker to lift his spirits in the locker room after the late turnover. Said the Celtics lost the game as a team, not in that moment.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 9, 2020
The Celtics had a one-point advantage with 13.8 seconds left in regulation when Kemba Walker coughed up the basketball after being shackled by the double team of Dennis Schroder and Chris Paul. Schroder capitalized on that steal and scored on a lay-up to put the Thunder in the driver seat, 105-104.
Boston failed to convert on the ensuing play, resulting in their fourth straight defeat inside the TD Garden.
Walker was pretty down on himself after the stinging defeat, particularly with his blunder in the dying seconds. Walker had 14 points, six rebounds, five assists,and two steals in 31 minutes of play on Sunday. He also shot 4-for-14 from the field (29 percent) and only made 2-of-9 from deep (22 percent).
The four-time All-Star was outplayed by the Thunder’s prolific backcourt duo of Paul and Schroder, who had 28 and 27 points, respectively.
The Celtics, meanwhile, have been dealing with the injury bug as of late and have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games. They still hold the third spot in the Eastern Conference Standings with a 42-21 slate.