BOSTON —As small sample sizes go, this one shouts for attention.

After five games as a Boston Celtic, Kemba Walker has almost doubled his free-throw attempts, going from a career average of 4.8 attempts to 8.2. After breaking the 32-point barrier for the third straight game with a 33-point performance in Friday’s win over the Knicks, the point guard has also averaged 14.5 free-throw attempts over his last two games.

He’s shot 28 for 29 in that stretch (14 for 15 against Milwaukee, 14 for 14 against New York), and has generally attacked like a wrecking ball rolling downhill.

The Celtics haven’t benefited from this kind of contact-drawing attack since the Isaiah Thomas era. Kyrie Irving, as great a finishing point guard as there is, was elusive enough to not draw a lot of contact.

But for Walker, and despite his generously listed 6-foot size, the paint is all about contact, and all about keeping big men off balance, like teetering bowling pins.

“Yeah. That’s my goal, first and foremost, to get them off-balance so I can get an angle and get in front of them – get an angle so I can try and get the foul,” he said. “I try to finish first, but a lot of times their momentum is coming into me, and it gives me the opportunity to draw the foul.”

Perhaps other Celtics will follow suit. The ability to draw contact is an improving part of Jaylen Brown’s game – good news for a player with such an explosive step to the rim. Rookie Grant Williams, too, may have the knack. He was second on the team with a 6-for-6 free-throw performance against the Knicks’ big front line.

But Walker, especially, has shown a willingness to pay a physical price for attacking despite his size.

On the other hand, his size may be an asset here.

“He’s so quick, he stays so low to the ground and if they don’t shrink the floor he’s either going to get to the rim or get fouled,” said Gordon Hayward. “You saw the crossover shot (Friday night), too, so if we’re all spaced properly it opens up the floor, because it’s kind of like pick your poison. Are you going to decide to shrink the floor and try to stop him? Because he can kick it out and we can play that route.

“He’s so good at getting by his man and getting into the body, he’s so quick, over the years he’s developed that veteran savvy ability to find the body and get the foul.”

This part of Walker’s arsenal could be a game-changer for the Celtics, who finished 29th in the NBA last season with an average of 19.5 free-throw attempts per game. Only Orlando (19.2) was worse.

“It’s huge – his ability to get to the line,” said Brad Stevens. “You see when he draws contact, he draws contact. I mean the one time when (Marcus) Morris jumped up, Morris leveled him. It was a good hard foul and Kemba got right up and knocked in the free throws. I mean he’s a tough guy. He takes hits, he makes foul shots, he’s available every day, and he got two or three of the biggest rebounds of the night for us. Running in transition, he jumped up over everybody one time. So I’d say he’s a tough guy. I’m happy he’s here.”

The Celtics, in turn, have signed Walker as he enters the peak of his career, with a rare, developed ability to attack the biggest teams in the NBA.

“Watching film, watching other guys and the way they get to the basket,” he said of how he’s developed his technique. “How they draw contact. I’ve been learning over the course of my career. Having the ability to stop on a dime as well helps me. It’s definitely working so far. We’ll see how that goes as the season goes on, but I’m just going to stay aggressive, try to make the best plays possible. But it feels good to be able to get to the free-throw line and get some easy baskets.”

Comments are not available on this story.