Is Kemba Walker playing tonight against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs?

Kemba Walker missed the Boston Celtics last game against the Brooklyn Nets
Kemba Walker missed the Boston Celtics last game against the Brooklyn Nets

The Boston Celtics may still be without veteran guard Kemba Walker for game five of their series against the Brooklyn Nets.

Suffering from a knee injury he picked up in game two, Walker missed all of Sunday's game as the Celtics fell to a 3-1 series deficit. He also labored on to play a few minutes in game three. That puts his availability for tonight's game in doubt. The current consensus is that Brad Stevens will make a late decision on his involvement.

How will Kemba Walker's absence affect the Boston Celtics in their must-win game 5

Kemba Walker with fellow Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum
Kemba Walker with fellow Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum

Kemba Walker's absence from the Boston Celtics starting lineup was the latest injury suffered by the C's. They were without three regular starters on the night, with Jaylen Brown out for the season and Robert Williams also sidelined. They resultantly fell to a 141-126 loss that has put them on the brink of elimination from the playoffs.

Prior to game four, Walker had not played the most effective basketball of his season during the series. The 31-year-old was shooting at just 31% from the field and 17% from downtown, averaging 12.7 points and four assists. Against the Brooklyn Nets' "big three," there is little room for error and certainly no room for poor shooting performances.

Nevertheless, Kemba Walker is one of the Boston Celtics' leaders. Walker was one of their star players in the bubble last year, putting up 19.6 points a night during their run to the Conference Finals. The most disappointing thing for C's fans has been his inconsistency since those performances.

Walker started the season late having returned from knee surgery and it appears it remains a lingering issue for the point guard. That has hampered his campaign and while he has remained a threat on offense, his scoring has been hit and miss. Although he may not be their most reliable scorer, there is little doubt about his willingness to play, which coach Brad Stevens pointed out to the media:

“They both really wanted to play (in Game 4). They’ve been in constant contact with our trainers. There’s no ‘let’s see what happens.’ We’re just trying to have them available.”

Despite his struggles so far against the Brooklyn Nets, the Boston Celtics need all the help they can get if they are to pull off the unthinkable. Kemba Walker, on his night, can bring the sort of playmaking and scoring the C's sorely required. At the end of the day, Brooklyn is still poor on defense, which is exactly what Walker can expose.

Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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