Kemba Walker struggles in Knicks’ loss to Bulls

CHICAGO — It was a good sign Sunday night, Kemba Walker wanted to play his first back-to-back set since the 2019-20 season. 

It’s a bad sign Walker posted another single-digit outing — seven points, four assists on 3-for-9 shooting in 17:58. Walker saw the Knicks’ fourth quarter collapse at United Center. 

Walker decided that he would give the Bulls a try on Sunday after playing against the Rockets Saturday. Walker made that decision on Saturday night. 

“I just wanted to play,’’ Walker said. “I knew I was playing. I’m feeling good. I’m doing everything I can to take care of myself. Credit to the people who train them. I’m putting in the work.’’ 

Walker wouldn’t guarantee he’ll play all back-to-backs, but said he will do some. 

Kemba Walker had just seven points four assists against the Bulls Sunday.
Kemba Walker scored just seven points and had four assists Sunday against the Bulls.
USA TODAY Sports

“I felt regular,’’ Walker added. “It was cool. I’m taking it game by game. I’m not playing all 82 games. It doesn’t matter if it’s back-to-back. I’m taking it game by game. It just depends.’’ 

It’s the first time since early in the 2019-20 season Walker played both ends of a back-to-back set. Last season the Celtics wouldn’t let Walker play back-to-back and he stopped playing many of them midway through the 2019-20 campaign. 

Walker did not participate in the Philadelphia-Chicago set earlier this month. 

“Nothing is set in stone for back-to-backs,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. “It’s just communication with medical people. Kemba can have a lot to do with it. He is trustworthy. He’s comfortable. And he’s done a great job taking care of his body.’’ 

With Rose’s effectiveness, Walker hasn’t been able to adjust to less minutes and now has posted eight single-digit outings in his past 11 games. That’s only notable because he had a streak of 40 double-digit games broken earlier this month. 

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