Walker, who has played sparingly in the postseason for Los Angeles, turned in a terrific performance in Game 3 to help guide the Lakers to a win and a 2-1 series lead.
He played just over 24 minutes (24:24 to be exact) in Game 3, taking six shots and hitting four of them on his way to 12 points, the most he’s scored this postseason.
Walker also added four rebounds, two steals and two 3-pointers for the Lakers on Saturday night.
“Like a dream,” Walker said Sunday about playing meaningful minutes in the playoffs for the first time in his NBA career. “I mean, truthfully speaking, I didn’t go to sleep until like four or five in the morning last night, I could not go to sleep. My girl was pretty pissed off at me. But I was really happy, man. I’ve been thinking about this for so dang long. And for it to pan out the way it did, and for us to win, I can’t thank no one but the man upstairs for keeping me ready and keeping me prepared.”
Walker played in garbage time for the Lakers in Game 2, scoring nine points in 12 minutes on 4-of-8 shooting. That performance could have been part of the reason why Darvin Ham decided to use him in Game 3.
It’s been a bit of a strange season for Walker, as he was in the starting lineup at points for the Lakers early in the 2022-23 campaign.
However, with the team adding D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and Mo Bamba at the trade deadline, Walker’s minutes became much more inconsistent down the stretch of the season.
The emergence of Austin Reaves has also limited how many players factored into the guard rotation for Ham, as Reaves, Dennis Schroder and Russell have dominated minutes at the position.
Lakers fans have to be happy that Walker not only took advantage of his moment, but that he was also so excited to make a key contribution to the team.
Rather than be upset that he wasn’t playing much in the playoffs, Walker stayed ready for his number to be called. Game 3 against Golden State was the sixth time he had played this postseason and the first time for more than 20 minutes.
It will be interesting to see if Walker gets a chance to make an impact in Game 4 between the Lakers and Warriors on Monday night.