MNO Sports >Football World >Kristaps Porzingis suits up, does not play in Celtics' Game 4 loss to Mavericks

Kristaps Porzingis suits up, does not play in Celtics' Game 4 loss to Mavericks


Kristaps Porzingis warms up before Game 4 of the 2024 NBA Finals.

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DALLAS (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis was available to play but did not in the Boston Celtics’ 38-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday.

Porzingis missed the previous game because of a rare tendon injury. He had been listed as questionable for Friday night before going through an on-court workout about 2 1/2 hours before tipoff.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said before the game that Porzingis would be limited on the floor.

“He’s not quite there. He’s available,” Mazzulla said. “We’ll use him in very specific situations.”

"He's not quite there but we're going to make him available"

Joe Mazzulla says they will only use Kristaps Porzingis in "very specific instances" tonight

— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) June 14, 2024

That situation never occurred as Dallas led by double digits in the 1st quarter and by as many as 48 while forcing a Game 5 on Monday (8:30 ET, ABC).

The Celtics still lead the best-of-seven NBA Finals 3-1.

The 7-foot-2 Latvian center missed Game 3 because of a tear in the tissue that holds tendons in place in his lower left leg. The Celtics have said that tendon issue is unrelated to the calf strain sustained April 29 in the first round against Miami that led to him missing 10 games.

Boston moved within a victory of an 18th championship without Porzingis, beating Dallas 106-99 on Wednesday for a 3-0 series lead. The Celtics are poised to break a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most NBA titles.

Porzingis played the first two games of the finals, with a crucial role in the Game 1 win, after missing the previous 10 playoff games with a strained right calf.

Mazzulla said the commanding series lead would have no bearing on whether Porzingis plays. The medical staff deemed him unfit to play after putting him through drills before Game 3.

“Kristaps has gotten better from yesterday to today,” Mazzulla said Thursday. “He’s fighting like hell to play. But it’s going to be up to us to protect him and to make sure that it’s in the best interest for him as a player and as a person.”

Porzingis played beyond the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his career when he had 11 of his 20 points and two of his three blocks in the first quarter of Boston’s 107-89 victory in Game 1.

The injury happened in the third quarter of Game 2, when Porzingis said he knocked knees with Dallas rookie center Dereck Lively II when they went for a rebound on a free throw.

Al Horford has started all three games in the finals, including the two when Porzingis played, and Xavier Tillman Sr. had a 3-pointer during a 20-5 Boston run while playing for the first time in the title series with Porzingis out.

“We’ve been playing all season and all playoffs without (Porzingis),” star guard Jaylen Brown said. “Obviously, we’d love to have (Porzingis) out there. We are different when he is. But X stepped in that role, and I thought he was great.”

Porzingis signed a $60 million, two-year extension with the Celtics after they acquired him in a trade with Washington last summer. That deal kicks in next season.

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