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CHICAGO -- The Dallas Mavericks will surely want to forget their 144-115 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night, where they allowed 82 points in the first half. But there was a bright spot for the Luka Doncic-less Mavs' on an otherwise brutal night.

The game saw the debut of four-time All-Star Kemba Walker, which Dallas signed last month. In 20 minutes of action Walker finished with eight points, five assists, two rebounds and one block. It's a modest statline, but given the 32-year-old Walker hasn't played in 10 months, it's a promising return for the once franchise cornerstone player.

There were moments in the game where you saw flashes of Walker's former All-Star self, whether he was finishing tough shots or dishing impressive dimes. Though he has a history of getting hurt, most notable a knee injury which plagued him for several seasons since his time with the Boston Celtics, Walker looked spry and showed no sign of having had any issues. After the game, Walker talked about his long awaited return to the hardwood. 

"It felt great, I was just in the house a few weeks ago," Walker said, referring to how it wasn't too long ago that he was a free agent. "It just feels really good, really gratifying to be back."

Prior to the injuries, it was unfathomable to think that Walker would be a free agent during the season, as he was one of the most lethal scoring guards in the league through his years with the Charlotte Hornets and several seasons with the Celtics. But injuries have a habit of doing that to a player's career, and after a 37-game stint with the New York Knicks last season, in which Walker fell completely out of the rotation, and then being traded to, and then waived by the Detroit Pistons in the offseason, Walker found himself without a team. 

That changed when the Mavericks signed Walker to a one-year minimum contract on Nov. 29, as the team felt it needed another guard after it was clear Dallas didn't adequately address the loss of Jalen Brunson in the offseason. After several practices and watching the team from the bench since joining them, Walker finally made his debut, and he admitted there were some nerves when he checked in for the first time in 297 days. 

"A little bit, little bit," Kemba said in reference to if he had nerves when he checked in for the first time. "But once I saw my first shot go in, [the nerves] kind of went away."

That first made basket came in the first quarter, a mid-range, pull-up shot from the top of the key. It looked like vintage Kemba, a smooth jumper that you knew was going in as soon as it left his fingertips.

"It was most definitely a great feeling," Walker said. "I worked hard to get myself back to this level."

Though the result wasn't a win for Walker and the Mavericks, the former lottery pick was one of just two players on Dallas' team who finished with a positive point differential at a plus-2. And while that may not mean a whole lot in what was a lopsided affair as Dallas was without Doncic -- who was out with a quad injury -- it speaks to the positive impact when he was on the floor. That positive impact is something Mavericks coach Jason Kidd applauded after the game.

"I thought Kemba did a good job of getting us organized offensively and defensively," Kidd said. "When you look at it, there were only two guys that were in the positive, and he was one of them, him and Reggie [Bullock]. In a game like that, that's almost impossible to do, but those two were positives and so Kemba did a really good job."

As far as how Walker's role will evolve for the Mavericks, Kidd mentioned that it's possible we could see him on the floor with Doncic when he returns, but didn't want to put a timeframe on it. 

"We'll get a chance to see those two play together, it's early in the season so we have a lot of basketball left to play," Kidd said. "When Luka comes back hopefully we can get those two on the floor together."