Kristaps Porzingis


Kristaps Porzingis


Getty

Kristaps Porzingis during Game Two against the Dallas Mavericks on June 9.

Two games into a return from injury, Kristaps Porzingis suffered another setback in the Boston Celtics‘ Game Two win over the Dallas Mavericks.

But head coach Joe Mazzulla denied any concern over the his status for Game 3. “Zero,” Mazulla told reporters on June 9. “He’s good.”

Porzingis checked out of the game with 4:40 remaining after a run in with PJ Washington below the basket minutes prior.

A right calf strain sidelined him for 11 games leading up to the NBA Finals. To not have him, or not have him at 100%, for Game 3 would be a big adjustment for Boston.

Porzingis denied any chance of missing Game 3 after the game.

“I’m feeling good,” Porzingis said. “I don’t think it’s anything serious. But we’ll look at it tomorrow, and go from there. But all good. I’ll be good.”

Boston’s starting center finished Game Two with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, and an assist in 23 minutes. He’s on a minutes restriction in his ongoing return.

That won’t change in Game Three following another scare. But there’s little doubt Porzingis will miss an opportunity to play in front of his former home crowd in Dallas.


Porzingis on Dallas Return: ‘Interesting Coincidence’

Porzingis was traded to the Washington Wizards in February of 2022. Provided he plays, Game Three will be his first time playing in Dallas since he was dealt.

“Interesting coincidence, to be in the Finals now for the first time and being back in Dallas,” Porzingis told reporters. “But it’s going to be a regular game for us, for me I mean. It just happens to be on a big stage. Dallas was my home. I love the city, love the fans there. I was always welcome there. It’s gonna be a fun matchup.”

That’s a little added motivation for Porzingis, who will return to Dallas with the chance to secure a championship on their home floor.

Boston is up 2-0 over the Mavericks, and the odds lean heavily in their favor. According to Land of Basketball, teams who take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals are 31-5 all-time.

The 2020-2021 Milwaukee Bucks are the last team to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the NBA Finals, when they beat the Phoenix Suns.


Jrue Holiday Shines in Game Two

Debates of Jaylen Brown versus Jayson Tatum as the team’s best player circled social media headed into Game Two, thanks to a comment from Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd.

But no one had Jrue Holiday leading the Celtics in scoring on their bingo cards. He was asked postgame why he doesn’t consider himself a superstar, compared to his teammates Brown and Tatum after the win.

“Utility guy,” Holiday told reporters on June 9. “I do whatever. I’m here to win. I feel like they brought me here to win, and I’ll do my best to do that. At the end of the day, this is their team. I know it’s probably just as much my team as theirs. But the pressure that they have on themselves, to execute and to be great, is a little bit different than my pressure…They’re superstars, and I’m here to support.”

The veteran point guard finished Game Two with 26 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block in 40 minutes played.

Holiday has been masterful through two games. He’s scored 38 points and committed no turnovers. According to Stathead, the last player to do that was Michael Jordan in 1998.

Credit to Brad Stevens for assembling Boston’s supporting cast, and credit to Holiday and Porzingis for maximizing their roles.

Collin Loring covers the NBA, WNBA and MLB for Heavy.com, where he has been a contributor since 2021. His sports coverage has also been featured at FanSided, Elite Sports NY and The Strickland. More about Collin Loring



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