Thursday, May 30, 2024

Report: Why there's 'definitely optimism' Kristaps Porzingis will play Game 1 of NBA Finals

The Celtics could be at full strength come Game 1 of the NBA Finals, which doesn't get underway for another week.

According to league insider Shams Charania of The Athletic, Kristaps Porzingis could make a return to the C's lineup sooner rather than later given the rest between now and when the Finals tip-off.
"There's definitely hope. There's definitely optimism," Charania said on a recent episode of FanDuel TV's "Run it Back." "There are still some hurdles, I'm told, that he has to clear before he can play in Game 1 of the Finals but there's of course hope that this next week-plus will give him the time that he needs to ramp up and get ready for that Game 1 next Thursday against likely the Mavericks."
Meanwhile, Boston's head coach Joe Mazzulla said Wednesday he was not sure if Porzingis would be ready to go by then, despite reports of the veteran big man making good progress.
"I do know that he ramped it up on the court a little bit," Mazzulla told 98.5 The Sports Hub. "I do know, like I've said, he's working really, really hard. There were a couple shootarounds where he hadn't done anything with the team but he's been in a 1-on-1 setting kind of ramping up the intensity level of it. So, I know he's getting better and better."
Porzingis continues to nurse a right soleus strain in his hamstring and has been out since April 29. The Celtics, who are 9-1 in Porzinigis' absence, wrapped up the Eastern Conference Finals with a four-game sweep over the Indiana Pacers this past Monday -- as they await the winner of the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves. The Mavs lead the Western Conference Finals 3-1 and have a chance to close-out the series tonight.

The Celtics at 12-2 this postseason, have been able to let Porzingis heal while their previous opponents have been without their star players in Jimmy Bulter (Heat) in the first-round, Donovan Mitchell (Cavaliers) in the second round and Tyrese Haliburton (Pacers) in the third round. Despite Mitchell and Haliburton missing just the last two games of their respective series against Boston, the Mavs and T-Wolves are pretty healthy for the most part and could present a tougher matchup then any the C's have faced all playoffs.

Regardless of who comes out of the West, the Celtics will be off for the next 10 days before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, which is scheduled for next Thursday, June 6 at 8:30 pm ET on ABC.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Boston Globe

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