Home News Kristaps Porzingis Shines in Return, Celtics Take Game 1 of NBA Finals

Kristaps Porzingis Shines in Return, Celtics Take Game 1 of NBA Finals

BOSTON — Kristaps Porzingis made a triumphant return from a 37-day layoff to help the Boston Celtics secure a 107-89 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Playing in the Finals for the first time, Porzingis came off the bench to score 20 points, grab six rebounds, and block three shots in 21 minutes, following a 10-game absence due to a right calf strain sustained during Game 4 of the Celtics’ first-round series against the Miami Heat.


“Even if I have time off, I can jump right back in and I feel the same way,” Porzingis said. “I get to my spots … so whether it’s playoffs, regular season or whatever, I know how to do this.”


Porzingis’ strong start helped the Celtics build a commanding lead, going up by as much as 29 points late in the first half. However, Dallas mounted a comeback in the third quarter, led by Luka Doncic, who scored 10 points during a 22-9 run that cut Boston’s lead to 72-64 with 4:28 remaining in the period.


The Celtics responded with a 14-0 run, regaining control and maintaining a comfortable lead for the rest of the game. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 22 points, six rebounds, three steals, and three blocks, while Jayson Tatum added 16 points and 11 rebounds. Derrick White contributed 15 points.


Despite the loss, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd found positives in his team’s performance. “A lot of good things in that third and fourth that we can build on,” Kidd said. “We came out and won the third. Had a great opportunity to cut into that lead. Unfortunately, they go on a run. Once we cut it to eight, but then you know we won the fourth.”

Doncic finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas, who was outshot 47.6 percent to 41.7 percent overall. P.J. Washington scored 14 points, Jaden Hardy added 13, and Kyrie Irving, who faced boos from the Boston crowd, scored 12.

“It definitely does feel good to win the first game,” Tatum said, “but we know that two years ago we won the first game and the outcome of that series. So we still have a lot of work to do.”

Porzingis didn’t start but made an immediate impact upon entering the game, scoring 11 points and blocking two shots in the first quarter, helping the Celtics to a 37-20 lead, the largest first-quarter lead in Game 1 of Finals history. The Celtics extended their lead to 58-29 with a 14-2 run in the second quarter, but Doncic’s nine points in the final four minutes of the half helped Dallas cut the deficit to 63-42 by halftime.

Key Performances:

Kristaps Porzingis (Celtics): 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks
Jaylen Brown (Celtics): 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks
Jayson Tatum (Celtics): 16 points, 11 rebounds
Luka Doncic (Mavericks): 30 points, 10 rebounds
Kyrie Irving (Mavericks): 12 points

Game 2 is set for Sunday in Boston, where the Celtics will look to build on their strong start and the Mavericks will aim to even the series.


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