Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis


Kristaps Porzingis

For years, many believed Kristaps Porzingis’s supposedly strained relationship with Luka Doncic was the reason he did not work out for the Dallas Mavericks. However, according to Tim Hardaway Jr., that was not the case.

While talking with GQ Sports’ Bobby Manning, Hardaway revealed what he believes was the real reason it never worked out.

“For the most part, they didn’t even have that much time to even play together,” Hardaway told Manning. “I think the injuries really affected what could’ve been, but off the court and on the court, K.P. and Luka, they always talked. It was always laughing and stuff, but at the end of the day, they’re also competitors as well.”

Two games into their round matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, Porzingis tore his meniscus, effectively ending his postseason.

Porzingis and Hardaway played for the New York Knicks before the Mavericks acquired them. The Latvian center played 134 games in two and a half seasons before the Mavericks traded him to the Washington Wizards.

Dissolving the partnership appeared to be what was best for both parties. The Mavericks have since made two conference finals, including their first NBA Finals appearance since 2011. Porzingis has since helped the Boston Celtics return to the NBA Finals in 2024.

Kristaps Porzingis Expects ‘Big Response’ From Luka Doncic

Before the Celtics and Mavericks square off in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Porzingis told reporters that he expects Doncic to be more than ready.

“We expect a big response from him. He’s one of the best players, and he’s going to bring it, so we have to be ready,” Porzingis said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

Doncic had 30 points in the Mavericks’ losing effort, but he also had one assist and needed 26 shots to get the 30 points. Dallas will make adjustments accordingly to assist Doncic’s efficiency. The Mavericks will need more from him in the playmaking department, but it doesn’t solely rest on his shoulders.

The Celtics and Porzingis know first-hand that Doncic is capable of going off at any moment. If the Mavericks are going to win this series, they’ll need better performances from him and everyone else.

Luka Doncic Praised Kristaps Porzingis’ Game 1 Performance

Having Porzingis healthy and ready helped the Celtics take Game 1 after he had been out for over a month. In 21 minutes off the bench, Porzingis had 20 points and three blocks.

After the game, Doncic praised his former teammate for how well he played against the Mavericks.

“He was great for them. He was knocking down shots, he was blocking shots, he was really, really huge for them on both ends of the floor,” Doncic said, per ClutchPoints’ Tomer Azarly.

Porzingis has missed most of the Celtics’ playoff run. He injured his calf in Game 3 of their first-round matchup against the Heat. If Porzingis is healthy and does not slow down, the Mavericks could be in trouble in this series.

However, the Mavericks also know how injury-prone Porzingis can be. If he gets hurt again, the series’ dynamic completely changes. However, the Celtics proved beforehand that they could survive without him.

Matt John covers the NBA for A Massachusetts native, he has covered the NBA since 2018, with stops at The Sporting News, FanSided, Basketball News and Basketball Insiders. More about Matt John

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