Celtics rookie Jordan Walsh savors NBA debut as growth continues in Maine

TD Garden was able to erupt within the closing moments of the Celtics’ victory over the Spurs on Wednesday evening, however it had nothing to do with the end result of the sport.

The win was wrapped up with 3:03 remaining when Jordan Walsh checked in to make his NBA debut, and the remaining crowd was effectively conscious. He acquired a louder-than-usual ovation as he was launched, and for the ultimate three minutes, the followers have been absolutely invested within the rookie second-round decide. He was cheered each time he touched the ball on his 4 rebounds, and the gang tried to will his first profession factors into existence.

Walsh missed his solely shot try, a 3-pointer from the left wing within the closing minute, however his debut was nonetheless memorable.

“Amazing. I’m never going to forget that,” Walsh stated. “Wish I would’ve made the shot, though. But yeah, it was definitely a good feeling being out there.”

Walsh stated he sensed the gang cheering for him and appreciated its consciousness for his particular second.

“I definitely could,” Walsh stated. “Soon as I used to be open, the ball began heading in the direction of me and began screaming. I’ll have been a little bit nervous. But it’s all a part of the sport. But I used to be undoubtedly excited. …

“It was an amazing moment obviously. So much history in this building. So much history with this organization. And the fact that I was able to put on that jersey, it’s amazing. It’s definitely an accomplishment that I’m going to have for the rest of my life.”

After being chosen within the second spherical, the 19-year-old Walsh was by no means anticipated to play a big position on a championship-ready Celtics group. He has spent his total rookie season to this point with G-League Maine to proceed his growth. Wednesday served as one thing of a reward for the arduous work he’s put in up north.

“I’d say the one thing about Jordan is he got Defensive Player of the Game by Blaine (Mueller), the head coach, after one of the games,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla stated, “and so simply his mindset and method to understanding how he’s going to be an efficient participant for us, and I can simply inform a distinction in his progress from the couple instances he performed originally of the 12 months to now together with his defensive communication, his rebounding, and he’s beginning to see how vital that’s.

“And as far as the fans, I think they’ve been great for us all year, and for them to kind of give a kid like that support says a lot about them. I think it was pretty cool.”

As Mazzulla acknowledged, Walsh’s focus in Maine has been bettering within the areas that affect profitable. His protection is his best power, one thing he’ll know will get him on the ground within the NBA, particularly on this Celtics group. And after a poor season of capturing in faculty, Walsh is capturing 40.8 p.c from 3-point vary in eight video games with Maine.

“It’s all about becoming that role player that Boston wants,” Walsh stated. “Obviously, whatever it takes to come up here and compete and help us win a championship. That’s the main goal. So whatever I can do to get that, that’s what I’m focused on.”

It will take time past this season for Walsh to earn an everyday position in Boston. But for now, he’s blissful to get his first NBA milestone underneath his belt.

“I feel like it’s a milestone in everybody’s career that they can’t wait to finally hit,” Walsh stated. “And that night for me was tonight and so I’m happy that I hit that milestone.”

Wemby mania

Victor Wembanyama, probably the most hyped NBA rookie since LeBron James, didn’t disappoint in his first profession recreation in Boston, the place he scored 27 factors and dazzled the gang with some dunks. He loved his first expertise taking part in at TD Garden.

“The floor is special,” Wembanyama stated. “Didn’t bother me, but it is special. I mean, it’s just beautiful and the locker room was beautiful. The weight room is way too small, but the locker room is nice.”

Though he’s solely 20, Wembanyama famous the expansion he’s seen from the Celtics over the previous couple of seasons.

“It’s the depth, everybody can hoop on that team,” Wembanyama stated. “Everyone’s a threat on the court, but at the same time, they all know their roles and they’re all willing to share the ball. From the most important franchise guys to the role players, everybody is ready to compete and make the sacrifices. I can see that more compared to the past years as well. Just watching them, I remember clearly watching them in the Finals against Golden State (two) years ago and I can see the growth of that team.”

Jrue Holiday, a five-time All-Defensive guard, had some bother defending the 7-foot-4 Wembanyama on Wednesday however embraced the chance to protect such a singular participant.

“He’s fun to play against. He’s a anomaly,” Holiday stated. “He’s definitely a challenge to be able to be that tall and that versatile. I think I guarded him twice and I think he just caught it, shot it over me. For me, especially as a defender, I like that type of stuff because I want to figure out how to stop that. But I think he’s a really good player, really good young player. So I think his future is bright and how he plays the game, I love to watch.”


Jayson Tatum inched nearer to Joel Embiid however remained in third amongst East frontcourt gamers within the third spherical of All-Star fan voting returns launched Thursday. Jaylen Brown (fifth, frontcourt), Kristaps Porzingis (sixth, frontcourt), Derrick White (seventh, guards) and Holiday (ninth, guards) all stood pat in fan voting.

Fan voting closes on Saturday, and All-Star Game starters will probably be introduced subsequent Thursday. Fan voting accounts for 50 p.c of the vote to determine starters, with gamers and a media panel accounting for 25 p.c every. …

The Celtics reported an empty damage report and will probably be at full power for Friday’s showdown in opposition to the reigning champion Nuggets.