Little Man Kemba Walker Shuts Down Big Men Joel Embiid and Al Horford on Defense

Brian Giuffra
Aug 23, 2020, 3:05 PM EDT
Kemba Walker.
Kemba Walker. | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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Kemba Walker has never been known for his defensive prowess. A 6-foot (at best) tweener guard who focuses his attention on the offensive end, Walker has historically struggled slowing down opposing guards. Big men? Guarding them has never really not an option. Until now.

In Game 4 of the Celtics playoff series against the 76ers, with the Celtics leading the series 3-0, Walker transformed into Dikembe Mutombo, forcing 7-foot center Joel Embiid into an awkward fadeaway shot he missed and stealing the ball away from 6-9 forward Al Horford in the low block.

When the man guarding you barely reaches your belly button, it's usually advantage offense. But Walker showed real grit on both plays, refusing to let Embiid push him any closer to the rim than the foul line, then using his quick hands to strip the ball away from Horford before he got a shot off. Perhaps the 76ers big men were fine giving up based on the state of the series, but either way, impressive D from Walker.

These plays encapsulate the entire series. The 76ers have the size advantage, but the Celtics aren't getting bullied around. In fact, they're the ones doing the pushing and, in this case, winning the battle of David versus Goliath.

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