May 26, 2023 6:28 pm
Antoine Walker joined Zach to discuss if the Celtics have taken back the ECF from the Heat and his message to Ja Morant.
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The week continuing is at the Yelp Show Coast to Coast on CBS Sports Radio. The Celtics Heat Series is getting good. It looked like this series is going to be over rather quickly when Miami did take a three games to none lead. But Boston has started to shift momentum back into their favor as they've taken the last two games and we have a crucial game six coming up tomorrow night in the association. Let's head out to the guest line right now and welcome in a man that was drafted by the Boston Celtics. Played there from 1996 to 2003 in his first chapter in Boston.
Also won an NBA Championship with the Miami Heat and that of course is Antoine Walker. Antoine appreciate the time. How are you? I'm good thanks for having me on the show.
Well we appreciate you coming on. So these last two games what have you seen from the Boston Celtics? Obviously it's starting to be more aggressive. I think you know offensively you know if you look at it different guys are being more aggressive taking shots when they're available not just relying on Jason Tatum and Jalen Brown to have huge nights and I think that's key if they want to win this series. The Miami Heat are too good and coach too well defensively and they're not going to just let Jason Tatum and Jalen Brown beat them.
So other guys have to stay aggressive and and take opportunities when they come. Has momentum shifted yet? Like do you feel confident about the Boston Celtics winning these next two games or is it more so let's see what happens in game six first before we talk about momentum shifting back to Boston.
I think the momentum has shifted. I think the Celtics are a much more confident group now. Obviously they got to go on the road and get it done but I think they're a much more confident group going into this game and knowing that they can get if they can get this win and get to a game seven it really changes the complexity of the series and obviously the momentum completely shifts. So I just think that this group the core group of the Celtics if you just watch them over the last couple of years they've been in so many meaningful games they've made so many deep runs and playoffs they're going to have an opportunity to to make history here and have an opportunity to get back in the series and tie it up three three.
I just believe that I think just that core group you know the Jenna Grounds and Jason Tatum and Marcus Smart. I hope these guys have been been together you know now for the last couple years they've made huge runs. Why are they such a slow starting team because we've seen that throughout this postseason and going back to previous years it's almost as if this team thrives on putting himself in as tough as a position as possible and then fighting their way back out of it and prevailing.
I don't think there's no one thing you can really point out. I think it's more or less probably the sense of urgency these guys have been together now for the last couple years complacency a little bit and then you know and something they obviously play well with their back against the wall but this is tough you get in Miami Heat a lot of life and they get Miami Heat have a home game they can go they can take care of business so they'll be tested and you know what's scary about this group is that I don't know if the Celtics don't come back and win this series you know you don't know if they're going to keep this group together they may not feel like this the group that could get it done so I think some pressure on themselves a little bit and I think they're going to respond. Antoine Walker here with us I like that you brought up the future because I feel like for the last few years so many people have been trying to break up Jason Tatum and Jalen Brown that started to pop up once again in this series I know Jalen Brown has a year left on the contract eligible for an extension got all second NBA team so we get more money in Boston just what advice would you give to Jalen Brown about navigating the future where people wonder does he want to stay in Boston does he want to resign or maybe go somewhere else? I think they've built something I think one thing that I would tell them is if I was in the front office of the Boston Celtics is hey you guys are building something special here um even if they do come up short hey you got a chance to play you and Jason have a chance to be together for another four or five years and and compete at the highest level and you don't get that everywhere and you're gonna get a huge payday um you couldn't ask for anything more as an NBA player so I think that's something that I would be looking at if I was him. I was surprised last night Antoine Walker by the lack of effort by the Miami Heat it seemed like they went into that game and the moment they sensed a little trouble they were okay with packing things up and getting ready for game six.
It happens sometimes sometimes teams like to close it on their home floor and celebrate with your home fans and um usually typically your role players play better at home so sometimes that happens too because you know road that's what you hope for the role players to struggle on the road so I think that could be something they feel like they can close it out in Miami um but you're playing against a team the Boston Celtics who's been in this group I just feel like has been in so many meaningful games and they have their talent to go on the road and get a win so I don't I hope that he didn't put himself in a bad position now and put yourself in a must well now you put yourself in a must win game six um it's a tough thing to put put on your mind but it looked like that that's what they were trying to do. Antoine Walker it's so tough to evaluate Joe Mazzulla and you know the guys in the locker room they really like Diemey Odoka then whatever happened he's no longer the coach Mazzulla gets thrown right into the fire it's been up and down just the conversation about Joe Mazzulla using your player instincts and and your kind of perspective and view on it how do you kind of evaluate the job that Joe Mazzulla has done with the Boston Celtics? I think he's done a terrific job I think anytime you take over a situation the way he did with the commotion and chaos with Yudoka and to still be able to have your team make deep runs in the playoffs be in the position to hopefully win another NBA championship you got to give him a lot of credit that's tough to do I think he'll get better and better as a head coach I'm pretty sure the players have seen him grow as a head coach he's probably you know much more outgoing much more you know speaking can you know do certain things as a coach that he probably didn't do in the beginning so that he was learning on the fly so I'm pretty sure he's he's even grown as a coach but I think he's perfect for him because the players play hard for him and if you watch the Celtics throughout the season I thought their season was terrific this year I thought they improved under him so I think he's only going to get better and better and he has to go because you're going to get a great coach hey listen Eric Sposum is a great coach down there you're going to get the coach as well because well versus been a part of many championship teams and it's tough to beat him so this is a good good stepping stone for for Yudoka to see if he can I mean not for sorry not for you don't go it's a good stepping stone coach to see if he can be able to see if he can be able to get past you know get past this tough Miami Heat team this would this would build a lot of confidence for him just as a coach for you when you were in Miami Eric Spolstra was an unknown to us but he was an assistant on those teams that you played for what stood out to you when you look back at a young Eric Spolstra he was unbelievable a lot of people don't know this he did a lot of chalkboard talk he did scouting reports he was really vocal in our championship run he was a great individual guy I thought you know he wasn't the coach that really worked me out because usually you get kind of adjusted to a certain coach a certain situation but he worked with D-Wade daily I think he's a big part of D-Wade success and being a great pro and working with him but just the chalkboard talk and running the running practice and running meetings Eric Sposum did that back then Pat Rowdy put a lot of responsibility on him and I think that's why he's a great coach today it's a big part of it. How do you look back playing for Pat Riley?
I loved it a demanding coach that demands the best out of you holds you accountable but wants to win he wants to win he's going to work you hard he's going to you know force you to get your best effort and that's one thing you want as a player he's going to bring the best out of you and make you work really really hard. When you were part of that team Antoine Walker you guys won an NBA championship you guys were down two games in the NBA finals right out of the gate to the Dallas Mavericks just what was the mentality like in that locker room and how did you guys put together those four straight wins to go capture that NBA championship? To be honest with you it was really Pat with the confidence instilled in us and obviously we wanted to get back home and once we got back home and was able to tie the series up I remember the last game we went to Dallas because it was um and he told us to only bring one suit because I think we would have had two games because I think game six and seven would have been in Dallas because it went to the format was totally different yeah three two and um I remember him telling us nobody can get on the plane you only bring one suit he didn't want to see the tons of luggage he didn't want to see nothing he wanted one suit and I just love that that always stuck in my head that that was just a confidence booster that hey we're going to take care of business we're going to get things done in game six it will never it will not be a game seven and and guys responding we was able to close it down to six.
When a coach of that caliber with what he's done in the league tells you to only pack one suit there had to just be a vibe in that locker room right all right this thing is over if that's how Pat Riley's feeling right? Oh without question and our confidence had grew even though we were down 0-2 but we started to play better at home and and got ourselves back in the series and obviously took control of the series and that mentality to go on the road like that we felt good so but that was that was we had a slogan that says 15 strong and I always credit Pat Riley for coming up with that and we kind of built our team and our playoff run after that and and that was that was so enjoyable and fun when we play. What do you look for in this game six when you're looking at it for both sides what do you think the biggest key is when we look at this game six coming up between Boston and Miami? Honestly man it's about the stars now this is the reason why you pay guys 30 40 million dollars um just I want to see the stars step up on both both on both teams and these guys have got to be the one to have a big game now you know whether it's Jason Taylor and Jalen Brown um they got to have big games you know Jimmy Butler you may need you're going to need one of those performances from Jimmy I don't care about being home in a way when it gets to this point it gets to a game six and seven you want the stars the guys that you paying max money to the guys that are supposed to be your franchise guys this is the games that you pay those guys for to have huge ones. It feels like whoever you know you know obviously if Miami wins game six that they win the series they go off to the NBA finals but it seems like this series is going to be decided coming up tomorrow night because if Boston goes back to TD Garden for a game seven I'm not going to pick against the Boston Celtics especially what they just did in the last round in a game seven. You know what this this this is like I said I'm going to repeat again this is about the stars and if you're looking at the just complete rosters from top to bottom the Celtics should be able to go into Miami and get a win um and it's not taking anything away from the Miami Heat who's a well coached team but when you really think about the star power and both of these rosters the Boston Celtics should be able to go on the road and get a win in Miami and force a game seven and I'm looking forward to seeing that I think this game I think it's going to seven games um I can't call a winner right now uh even though but I do believe Boston goes there and gets the game we get a game seven.
That would be awesome especially with this series looked like it was heading just a few uh games ago. Wrapping up with Antoine Walker I want to get to the team that did sweep and that was the Denver Nuggets over the Los Angeles Lakers. Some people are saying this Denver team is boring I don't see it with the Koliokic being the best player in the league and how fun it is to watch Jamal Murray being assassin in this postseason. Do you think Denver is a boring team and what do you say to people if you disagree with that that believe the Nuggets are boring?
I don't think they're boring um I think they got one of the if one of the best skilled big men that we've ever seen in the game um and yogi who can shoot pass um and do everything on the court as a big man it sometimes is not fancy it sometimes is really basic um they don't have the most athletic guys but they play good as a unit the Denver Nuggets they're well coached and they can play any style they can play small ball they can play big and that's what a lot of people don't know they can play any style they got that much versatility on their roster and they're deep they're probably the deepest team left in the playoffs right now they can play 10 11 guys easily and get production every team can't do that especially this stage of the season. And he's so consistent to Koliokic I never really see him ever have a bad game if you were a part of a team that was going up against him it's the multi-million dollar question right now in the sport especially the last three years how the heck do you try to even attempt to slow this guy down? Well he's a triple threat guy so what you want to do is you got as a team you have to decide what you want to do do you want this guy to be a scorer or a pass he does all those things so well if it was me I'll make him score because he loves to pass a great passer he obviously is a good rebounder I'll see if he can get 50 I'll play him single coverage and see if he can get 50 I would not allow him to get these other guys involved I just that's just something that I wouldn't do I would I would let him see if he wants to because he's such an unselfish player I want to see if he can go get 50 and I'm not saying he's not capable of it but I want to see if he can go get you know 35 40 consistently for four games and and that that's the way I would I would just defend him I would not let him have his cake into you too I'm not going to let him score and also make others better you have to take one of those things away and I would take away his passing ability and make him a complete scorer because I think he's so unselfish I don't think there's something that he wants to do so I'm gonna take all those other things away and make him a one-on-one player and give him give him opportunities to see if he can go get you go get 45 50 points a night. Anton Walker get into Lebron James he's a torn tendon in his foot we'll see if he's going to need surgery that was reported the other day by Sham Sharania one day Lebron's talking about retirement the next day Dave McMenamin has a report that it looks like Lebron's going to come back and finish out that final year of the contract of the Los Angeles Lakers I never bought the retirement talk from Lebron after that game I get it you're 38 you're in the moment of a loss and you probably don't want to talk about your future do you fully expect Lebron to be back with the Lakers next season? I don't know man you know it's hard to get your body now you have to he has another injury to deal with it's hard to at just at that age to get your body back ready to play at the level that he likes to play at we know he does a terrific job of taking care of his body so it probably wouldn't be as hard for him as other players but I think you know if Lebron if I'm Lebron I'm like listen if I got a legitimate chance and I believe I can win an NBA championship and the roster fits that because I think the Lakers have to do a little tweaking to their roster so if the roster fits that then I will come back if not unless I just not ready to get a game up I would think about retiring because obviously you know Lebron wants to play for championships that's what he's all about but what he's going to have to do to get his body prepared and to get up so for another season it's going to be very difficult and I don't know if 38 minutes a night is where you want Lebron playing that and wait can he play and be efficient at that at this age in his career we know he's got a terrific job at it but it can become a grueling season think about how they got in the playoffs they fight for play at play in positions those things so I think it's a lot of things Lebron got to think about obviously health is one and then if they can win I don't think he wants to come back to be an A seed again. Last thing I'll ask you Antoine Walker really appreciate you joining us today great perspective but what advice would you give to John Marant because that's been a big topic of conversation the last few weeks and then another video did surface and for now he's suspended with the Memphis Grizzlies. You know I kind of take it personal for me on the personal side I had I never had I had a personal thing off the court happened to me where I got a home invasion and got robbed at my home and really brought you know that kind of fear my and you know obviously living in Chicago and you know you're at home and you know you got guys robbing you so you start you start to have bad thoughts and certain things I just think with John he has to realize that hey you're a basketball player you're an NBA player you make a lot of money and you can't do everything that everybody else can do with social media now with camera phones and all the things that's going on you have to put yourself in better position I mean he has a child you got an organization that's that wants to put this whole franchise on your back and you have an opportunity to do that it's just too many good things that are in front of you to continually let these negative things bargain in his life and I just wish he would understand that and take that consideration maybe you know get completely on social media maybe that's not a place where you need to be at be at if you know you may make a mistake or something like that it's just so many things that you want to talk to him about because there's so many things he can he can really avoid and just be a great basketball player and really be a hall of fame player he's got that big of a skill set that big of an upside that he could be in the hall of fame one day but I hope he don't throw his career down the drain continuing doing senseless things that are not good to him and he's a role model for a lot of kids man a lot of people look up to him want to be like him and you know you're setting a bad president with a lot of these things especially with the gun talk and all that stuff I hate to see that and that that really upsets me because he's such a great athlete of such a great talent um so hopefully he gets it and hopefully he gets around the right people that can put positive things going on in his life really do appreciate the insight and the perspective he of course is Antoine Walker always loved catching up with you and chatting with you on the show thanks so much all right thank you in America it's estimated that four percent of people in prison are actually innocent when I saw them for the very first time like I knew who my jury will be doing trial to be honest I knew I lost then in 2002 the state of Georgia found Kerry guilty for his alleged involvement in a vicious rape only a small percentage of those people have their convictions overturned you know as one great justice said uh many years ago we don't find our witnesses from church pews what series of events led to Kerry's wrongful conviction could this happen to anyone what finally convinced the courts to overturn his conviction from Zapier in partnership with the Georgia Innocence Project this is the four percent listen anywhere you get your podcasts or visit zapier.com forward slash resources forward slash podcasts to learn more
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