The Celtics are 3 1/2 games up on Philadelphia in the division race with eight games left to play.
Boston has been forced to play the last two games without Walker since he went down with a left knee bruise in Friday’s win over Atlanta. Walker is out for Wednesday’s game, but there is a chance he could be back in the lineup for Saturday’s game at New Jersey, according to Boston coach Doc Rivers.
Boston lost to Philadelphia without him on Sunday, but bounced back with an impressive 116-108 win over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.
Seven Celtics score in double figures and all seven of them scored in the final 5 1/2 minutes in a game-ending 21-12 run to put away the Wizards. Paul Pierce scored 25 points and Raef LaFrentz added 21 to pace Boston.
Coach Rivers shook up his team’s lineup, starting Kendrick Perkins and rookie Delonte West in place of Mark Blount and Tony Allen. The switch paid dividends immediately: Perkins and West scored Boston’s first six points for a 6-1 lead before Perkins sat down with two quick fouls.
Meanwhile, LaFrentz made 8-of-13 shots after getting a lecture from Payton about passing up open looks during Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia.
“Needless to say, when Gary speaks, everybody tends to listen,” LaFrentz said. “So shoot, they gave me the green light, so I was going to gun it.”
The Celtics hope to match that effort against the Bucks on Wednesday.
Milwaukee snapped an eight-game losing streak on Sunday with a 106-102 win over the New York Knicks. Mo Williams made four free throws and Desmond Mason added another in the final 16 seconds to secure the Bucks first win since beating Washington on March 18.
Michael Redd had 32 points on 11-of-16 shooting and Mason chipped in with 20 to lead Milwaukee offensively.