Celtics Lead Mavs 2-0 in NBA Finals; Porzingis Updates on Injury

Celtics Lead Mavs 2-0 in NBA Finals; Porzingis Updates on Injury

BOSTON — Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis expects to get imaging on his right leg after tweaking it during Boston’s 105-98 victory over the Mavericks in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night. Despite the injury, Porzingis plans to play as the series moves to Dallas for Game 3.

“Not difficult at all,” Porzingis said when asked if it was tough to continue playing. “I’ll die out there if we need, so I just kept going. But obviously, I was a little bit limited, so the smart thing was to get Al [Horford] back in there and close out the game.”

Porzingis Optimistic About Quick Return After Injury Scare

Porzingis, who had been sidelined for over five weeks with a calf strain, returned to action in Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday. However, he appeared to tweak the same leg late in the fourth quarter on Sunday. After playing a few more possessions, he checked out with 4:40 remaining, replaced by Horford, and stayed on the bench for the rest of the game.

While on the bench, Porzingis used a band to stretch his leg and did not show any noticeable limp in the locker room. He mentioned that he expects to undergo imaging on Monday but is confident about playing when the series continues on Wednesday.

“I feel good,” Porzingis stated during his postgame media session. “Obviously, something happened, but I have a couple of days to get ready. Believe me, we’ll do everything we can to be back and moving.”

Porzingis Shines as Celtics Lead 2-0

After a strong 20-minute performance in Boston’s Game 1 victory, Porzingis contributed 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 23 minutes off the bench in Game 2, finishing with a plus-12 rating against his former team.

Wednesday’s game, assuming Porzingis plays, will mark his first appearance in Dallas against his former team since being traded to Washington in February 2022.

The Celtics acquired Porzingis last summer from the Wizards in a three-team trade, but he missed both previous games in Dallas due to injuries over the past two seasons.

Reflects on Returning to Dallas in the NBA Finals

“Yeah, honestly,” Porzingis said with a smile when asked if it was a little weird to make his initial return to Dallas in the NBA Finals. “It’s an interesting coincidence to be in the Finals for the first time and back in Dallas, but it’s going to be a regular game for us, for me.

“It just happens to be on a big stage … Dallas was my home. I love the city. I love the fans there.”

However, those fans might not share the sentiment after he and the Celtics stifled the Mavericks defensively for the second straight game. Boston held Kyrie Irving to another poor performance, scoring 16 points on 7-for-18 shooting and 0-for-8 from 3-point range over the first two games.

Despite Luka Doncic’s impressive 32 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, and 4 steals, Boston forced him into 8 turnovers. The rest of the Mavericks were a combined 2-for-17 from 3-point range and 5-for-32 over the first two games.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla expressed pride in his team’s defense, especially considering their own shooting struggles, finishing 10-for-39 from 3-point range.

Holiday Shines as Boston Maintains Discipline

“Usually what happens is you have empty possessions on offense,” Mazzulla said, “and your defense starts to suffer, or you lose trust in your spacing and shot selection, leading to transition issues and mismatches. But the guys stayed disciplined, avoiding those pitfalls and playing the game on our terms.”

Jrue Holiday’s stellar performance bolstered Boston’s efforts, scoring 26 points on 11-for-14 shooting, with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, a block, and no turnovers in 41 minutes. Over two games, Holiday has amassed 38 points without a turnover—the second-highest in Finals history since 1977-78, behind only Michael Jordan in 1998.

Despite the 2-0 series lead, Holiday remains focused. “Being up 2-0 means nothing,” he said. “The job’s not done. We have to do whatever it takes.”

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About the Author

Born in Liverpool in 1984, Ian Fletcher, a distinguished betting expert, attained a Master’s in Sports Analytics from the University of Manchester in 2010. Between 2011 and 2019, he was engaged with various English football clubs, focusing on tactical analysis and player performance metrics. Fletcher has contributed to 12 academic papers, emphasizing the role of game tempo and set-piece efficiency. In 2020, he transitioned into the realm of journalism. Presently, Fletcher authors in-depth analytical pieces on football, exploring game dynamics and team strategies, and his expertise is sought after by numerous sports platforms.

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