Kristaps Porzingis Returns to Practice – What it Means for Celtics

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Kristaps Porzingis Returns to Practice – What it Means for Celtics

We won’t know for another few days whether Kristaps Porziņģis will return for Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks.

What we do know, though, is that he is back practicing for the Celtics as he aims to play for the first time in over a month.

Porziņģis suffered a calf strain on April 29 in Boston’s Game 4 win over the Miami Heat, and his potential return against his former team would be a welcome sight for Celtics fans. The center averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while shooting a career-high 51.6% from the field during the regular season.

"He's getting better," Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said Friday following the team’s practice. "He's out there shooting. (He) went through a couple of drills in practice. So, progressing well and kind of confident where he's at right now."

Things got even better on Saturday when Porziņģis “went through everything that the team did,” according to Mazzulla. The head coach also didn’t mince words about the impact a return would have for the team.

“He’s a great player. He’s done a lot of great things for us," Mazzulla said. "Just like with any other guy, you go through what gives us the best chance to win. What gives us the best possible chance to win this series. … When KP is at his best, he’s been tremendous for us. We expect that from him, and we know he’ll give that to us.”

Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips off Thursday night with the Celtics 6.5-point favorites. Boston is also -225 to win the title while the Mavericks are +188.

Meanwhile, Porziņģis has the sixth-best odds to win Finals MVP (+5000) despite the uncertainty of whether he’ll play or how effective he’ll be after a lengthy layoff. Jayson Tatum (-120), Luka Dončić (+210), Jaylen Brown (+600), Kyrie Irving (+2000) and Derrick White (+3500) are the only players with shorter odds.

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Daniel Preciado
Jul 25, 2024 UTC