NBA Playoffs

Kristaps Porzingis expected to return for Celtics in NBA Finals Game 1: Report

Porzingis hasn't played since Game 4 of the first round.

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It appears the Boston Celtics' lineup will get a huge boost for Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.

Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis is expected to return for the series opener at TD Garden, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Tuesday. He also notes Porzingis has taken part in "multiple scrimmages" over the last week.

Porzingis has not played for the Celtics since he suffered a right calf strain in Game 4 of their first-round series versus the Miami Heat. That game was on April 29, so he's missed a little more than a month. The 28-year-old has been ramping up at practice in recent days and was seen shooting 3-pointers at the team's practice last Friday.

"He's getting better," Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters of Porzingis last Friday. "He's out there shooting. Went through a couple of drills in practice. So, progressing well and kind of confident where he's at right now."

The Celtics have won nine of their last 10 games without Porzingis, but his return is still a huge deal because of the tremendous impact he makes on both ends of the court.

The veteran center averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game during the regular season. His ability to stretch the floor as a 3-point shooter, and also provide great interior defense helps make him so valuable.

Game 1 is set for Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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