Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker was straight honest following his team's Game 1 loss against the Miami Heat in their Eastern Conference Finals series. The Heat edged out the Celtics 117-114 after overtime as Walker scored 19 points on 6-for-19 shooting, including 1-for-9 from 3-point range.
"I'm just playing terrible, to be honest," Walker said after the game, per ESPN. "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." The Celtics led by 14 points early in the fourth quarter before the Heat fought their way back to force an overtime and eventually get the win. "We've gotta be better," Walker said.
"We've gotta find a way to close these games out down the stretch."
Celtics coach Brad Stevens reflects on Walker's struggles
Coach Stevens underlined that the Heat have strong defenders and that's making it all tougher for Walker.
Celtics star forward Tatum drove past Jimmy Butler with few seconds to go in the overtime -- attempted a ferocious dunk attempt -- but he was met at the rim by Heat center Bam Adebayo, who blocked him. Had Tatum dunked the ball, he would have tied the game to 116-116 and likely send the game into a second overtime.
"They've got great athletes out there," coach Stevens said, when asked about Walker's struggles. "Some of the guards are able to keep in front with their length and then Bam was switching a ton of pick-and-rolls all day.
[Heat center Bam Adebayo is] a tremendous defender. So we're going to have to figure out, again, better ways to attack. Especially late. I thought that we really moved it at times, and then we did get stagnant." Celtics guard Marcus Smart scored 26 points but he wasn't particularly happy as he admitted the team relaxed a bit and ultimately paid the price.
"We got stagnant," Smart said. "We rested and we got complacent, and against a team like this, you can't get complacent. Up 14, up 20, up 30, they're really good at playing from behind. "When it counted they made the plays down the stretch.
... But like I said, it happens. They did their job, and it's time for us to do ours in Game 2."