From the moment Kemba Walker signed his two-year deal with the Knicks this offseason, there was plenty of excitement about the Bronx native coming home to play in the Big Apple.
On Tuesday night, Walker had his first signature New York moment in the 112-99 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
After the Sixers had taken a three-point lead into the second quarter, Walker scored 10 straight points for the Knicks late in the half, ballooning the Knicks’ lead to 17 points. The UConn product hit a pair of threes in that stretch, and also hit one of his patented step-back jumpers, a move he made his own at The Garden in the Big East Tournament against Pitt in 2011.
After his fourth straight bucket, Walker fired up the crowd, sharing a moment with his hometown fans.
“I was waiting for that moment. It was the kind of moment I dreamed of when I was a young kid, wanting to be in the NBA, watching the Knicks play, coming to a Knicks game and seeing how the crowd goes crazy,” Walker said after the game. “That was a great moment for me.
“It was fun. Hopefully we can have more moments like that. It was just such a great team win. Everybody contributed in many different ways, and that’s how New York basketball is. Everybody brings us together. It was fun. It was a great overall win.”
Walker ended up with a team-high 19 points on the night, shooting 5-of-11 from beyond the arc with five assists, three rebounds and two steals. The Knicks didn’t have a 20-point scorer, but they had five players in double digits and eight players with at least eight points, highlighting their newly improved depth.
“I was just trying to take whatever the defense gave me,” Walker said. “My teammates did an unbelievable job of just setting great screens for me, Taj (Gibson) and (Mitchell Robinson), even Julius (Randle). He set some great screens for me and I was able to get to my pull-up and they were just dropping.
“Whenever you can have multiple guys in double digits, it just makes the game a lot easier and just takes pressure off of a lot of the guys.”
Walker and the Knicks will be back on the court on Thursday when they travel to Chicago to play the Bulls.