MNO Sports >MMA Arena >Kristaps Porzingis confirms 'I'm going to play tomorrow' in Game 1 of NBA Finals - NBC Sports

Kristaps Porzingis confirms 'I'm going to play tomorrow' in Game 1 of NBA Finals - NBC Sports


2024 NBA Finals - Practices

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JUNE 05: Kristaps Porzingis #8 of the Boston Celtics takes a shot during the 2024 NBA Finals Media Day at TD Garden on June 05, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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BOSTON — “I’ll play tomorrow. I’m going to play tomorrow.”

The news coming out of Celtics practices the past few days didn’t leave much doubt that Kristaps Porzingis would play in Game 1, but the Celtics big man removed the last shred of it on Wednesday at the Celtics final practice before the NBA Finals tip-off.

"It burns inside of me not being able to be out there. Tomorrow I'll finally get the chance."- KP 😎

— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) June 5, 2024

Porzingis admitted that, having been out since April 29 with a strained calf, how much he could play in Game 1 would depend on how he feels as the game goes on. KP had been out the past two rounds — Celtics series wins over the Cavaliers and Pacers — and still has tape on his calf. He was taking extra care to stretch things out before Boston’s light practice on Wednesday.

Asking Porzingis to go from more than a month of non-activity to the highest level of basketball in the NBA Finals is a big ask, but one Boston needs to make.

“I did as much as I could to prepare for this moment, but there’s nothing like game minutes and game experience that I’m going to get tomorrow,” Porzingis said. “It will be tough to jump into the Finals like this. I did everything I could to prepare for it and we’ll see tomorrow night.”

Porzingis’ presence will be critical for the Celtics in the NBA Finals. The Mavericks defense — the best in the NBA over the final 20 games of the regular season — is based on prioritizing rim protection, dropping bigs Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II into the paint. Porzingis, who shot 37.5% from 3 this season (on 5.1 attempts a game), makes that much more difficult. Boston’s offense is five out and bombs away from 3, and that goes better with Porzingis on the court than Al Horford (although he is capable from beyond the arc). Plus, on defense, Porzingis gives Boston a rim-protecting big to counter Luka Doncic.

Expect Dallas to text its former center early and often, but if Porzingis can hold his own, it’s a huge boost for Boston.

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