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Boston Celtics: Walker stars as Team USA gets close win over Turkey, 93-92

Two Boston Celtics contributed heavily to a very close 93-91 victory over Turkey in World Cup competition. The Turkish crew proved very tough for the Americans to handle, but Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum came through for Team Shamrock and Team USA.

The first half ended with Team USA up by five points with a score of 47-42. Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker were the big guns for the USA. Tatum racked up five points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal. Kemba scored five points, grabbed two boards and passed off for three assists. Ersan Ilyasova was high man for Turkey with 15 points in the half, to go with four rebounds.

At the 0:04 mark of the third quarter, Walker went into the game for Marcus Smart and hit a last-second prayer of a 3-pointer just before the buzzer. The score at the end of the third period was 65-61 in favor of Team USA. Myles Turner's play in this game through three quarters was sensational, pouring in 11 points and taking down eight rebounds.

Kemba wasn't just racking up points, rebounds and assists in this one. His dogged defense was also on display, as seen in the video below:

Turkey tied the score at the 6:01 mark of the fourth quarter. Ilyasova continued to plague Team USA putting in a layup and then a tip-in in the final minute of the fourth period. The period ended in an 81-81 tie as Tatum made 2-of-3 critical free thows.

The 5-minute OT period was a nail-biter. A defensive rebound by Jayson (Team-high 11 boards for the game) in the closing seconds and two free throws by Kris Middleton sealed the victory. Marcus Smart (5 points, one assist) and Jaylen Brown (one point, one rebound) were both quiet for Team USA. Turkey's Ersan Ilyasova was a major factor in this contest being so close, ending with 23 points and 14 rebounds.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center


  1. Here's an edited version of my CL comment:

    I set my alarm for just before 5:30 AM Pacific Time and finally watched one of these. Pop seemed a little pissed off at Brown for good reason. In the first half, on defense, instead of putting his arms straight up, he touched the shooter's arm after a shot in the post that didn't go in. Pop yelled--you could read his lips--and put his own arms straight up to illustrate. Then Brown missed the front end of two free throws by simply not focusing, and then he missed another, this time one of those International Rules 1-shot fouls where the shooting team keeps the ball after the shot.

    Tatum, even though he only shot 3 for 11, was making good basketball decisions out there. His 11 rebounds was particularly impressive, as those Turkish players can jump and some are big--our 7'0" 2008 draft pick, Semih Erden, was in there banging, as were some others.

    Turkey is a damn good team, well coached. As we saw in Philly when he hit that game-tying shot against us in the playoffs in 2018 (the infamous 'confetti' loss for Philly), Ilyasova is clutch, all class. If Osman isn't ice-cold early or if the Turkish players make a couple of those missed late free throws, they would have won, and they deserved to.

    They played unselfish team ball (except for the American-born Wilbekin who helped them lose with a late, hero-ball offensive foul), while except for Kemba and Tatum, who were unselfish, we had too many individuals trying to be heroes--including Donovan Mitchell, who had a negative plus-minus. Miles Turner's late turnover that almost cost us the game was also 'hero ball' to me, anyway, as good as he looked early.

    1. Great feedback. I had to go with's play-by-play and Twitter updates. Didn't get to see it directly. Losing to Australia in exhibition and coming close to losing to Turkey is not a good sign. Will definitely add some of your input in today's article. You offer some of the best analysis out there. Ever think of writing at least an occasional article? Thanks again. What do you think should be done with Brown - by both Pop and Brad?

    2. I've always liked Brown, but his head isn't always in the game properly. Youth, or having an intelligent but wandering mind? I don't know. Maybe working a bit with Pop, who seems to be more of a screamer than Brad, will help Jaylen. I hope so. He also drove hard early, and the drives looked good, but the his shot didn't quite fall. This is a contract year for him.

      As for watching the game, I did exactly what Jay King says he did on a recent Locked On Celtics. I signed up for ESPN Insider more than a year or two ago, paid some minimum once, never (at least as far as I am aware of) renewed, and yet they keep giving me both ESPN Plus and ESPN Insider and mailing me their magazine.


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