Atlantic Notes: Kemba, Knicks, Horford, Raptors

All-Star point guard Kemba Walker still gets plenty of support from Hornets fans whenever he plays in Charlotte, even if he’s now wearing a Celtics jersey after switching sides this summer, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Fans in Charlotte were no different yesterday, serenading Walker when he checked out for the night in a contest his new team won definitively, 109-92.

“People are going to react like that forever,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters post-game. “He’s a special guy and an awfully good player. He’s been really good for us.” Walker is averaging 22.5 PPG and 5.5 APG for the 23-8 Celtics.

Here’s more from out of the Atlantic:

  • Ian Begley of SportsNet New York reports that the Knicks considered trading their 2015 first-round draft pick (which wound up being No. 4 pick Kristaps Porzingis) as part of a deal for then-All Star center DeMarcus Cousins. This move could have made for an appetizing frontcourt tandem with Carmelo Anthony.
  • Prestige summer signee Al Horford wants the Sixers to step up their defensive focus as they look to end their third three-game losing streak this season, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reports. “We need to stick together,” Horford said. The team is 7-11 on the road, but 16-2 at home. “We have to be more conscious of doing the things that coach wants us to do, defensively.”
  • The Raptors have managed to stay afloat this season despite losing Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard this summer and losing Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell to injuries for at least nine games each. The Toronto Star’s Doug Smith reports that the Raptors are eager for their players’ health to stabilize in 2020. Coach Nick Nurse observed that there have been some benefits to the team’s losing so many top players. “We’ve got a lot more reps out of a lot of other things in games — with a lot of guys that we probably didn’t think would get a lot of reps — and we’ve got a look at a lot of different defenses and stuff,” Nurse said. “So it’s been give and take, good and bad.”
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