Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis on track to be ready for NBA Finals against Mavericks

 

The NBA Finals are set after the Dallas Mavericks took down the Minnesota Timberwolves last week in five games. 

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics swept the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals and then watched closely as they awaited their opponent.

Both teams have made it to the final best-of-seven series, and while they both possess star power, every player is needed to capture the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of it all.

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For Boston, a key player in helping them earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference this year is currently on track to return just in time for the finals.

Kristaps Porzingis, the 7-foot big man whose game knows no restrictions when healthy, has been dealing with a strained left calf that he suffered in Game 4 of Boston’s first-round series with the Miami Heat on April 29. He hasn’t seen the floor since as his team mowed down their competition.

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Porzingis last spoke on May 4, when he said the injury was “something, it’s not nothing” and that he needed time to recover. His teammates picked up the slack, though, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the second round before dominating the Pacers. 

Porzingis got Celtics fans in a frenzy last Wednesday when he posted on social media that he’ll “be back in the lineup very soon. See you in the finals.”

While it isn’t certain he’s going to be available for the Celtics on Thursday when the series opens in Boston’s TD Garden, head coach Joe Mazzulla noted how great it would be to get Porzingis back into the fold. 

“When KP is at his best, he’s been tremendous for us, and we expected that from him, and we know he’ll give that to us,” Mazzulla said. 

Porzingis was spotted at Celtics practice in three-point shooting drills over the weekend. This past Saturday saw him participating in 5-on-5 drills as well.

As long as the Celtics deem Porzingis checked all the boxes necessary to play, Boston will get its forward/center back in place against a Mavericks team that’s clicking on all cylinders thanks in large part to Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. 

The Celtics also sport a hungry backcourt in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, though Porzingis was providing tons of scoring when healthy, too. He averaged 20.1 points this season with 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks over 57 games, showing his knack for getting things done on both ends of the court. 

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Having his skills available should bode well for the Celtics, a team that has lost in the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals in the previous two seasons, respectively. Despite success during the regular season, they haven’t been able to lift the O’Brien Trophy since the 2007-2008 season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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