Charlotte Hornets star point guard Kemba Walker will miss his first game this season when the Hornets play the Boston Celtics Friday night.
Walker has an excused absence to tend to a personal matter. He is scheduled to rejoin the Hornets in Atlanta for a Saturday-night game against the Hawks that will end the current five-game road trip.
Walker is the Hornets’ leading scorer at 22.6 points per game and an All-Star candidate. He was one of only three Hornets to have played in all 26 games this season. The others are reserves Marco Belinelli and Ramon Sessions. Sessions, in his second stint with the Hornets, will start in place of Walker against the Celtics.
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This will be Sessions’ first start since he filled in for an injured John Wall with the Washington Wizards last season. Sessions is in his 10th NBA season and has made numerous starts, so he said filling in for Walker isn’t much of an adjustment.
“This is my 10th year in the league and I’ve been thrown in these situations a lot,” Sessions said at practice Thursday. “Just take in the flow of the game. Get guys their shots and be aggressive, also, with the extended minutes.
“Starting or not starting, there’s not that much difference. Just play my game.”
Sessions is averaging 6.1 points and 2.9 assists this season, at just more than 16 minutes per game. Sessions will be backed up Friday by Brian Roberts at the point.
While the Hornets will be missing their star point guard, the Celtics might get theirs back. Isaiah Thomas, who has missed four games with a groin strain, is reportedly close to being cleared to play.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell