Kristaps Porzingis Details How Heat Disrupted Him in Game 2: 'I'll Make Sure I'm Better'

Apr 24, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) dunks against the Miami Heat.
Apr 24, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) dunks against the Miami Heat. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

A driving force in the Celtics acquiring Kristaps Porzingis over the summer was a potential playoff series against the Heat. 

Boston needed a center that could punish switches to make its offense more dynamic and reduce Bam Adebayo's impact on the defensive end. Adding a seven-foot-three sharpshooter to complement Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown has made this offense that much more of a nightmare for opponents.

But after generating the highest offensive rating in the regular season (122.2) and drilling 22/49 (44.9%) of their threes in a 114-94 win in Game 1 vs. Miami, the Celtics barely cracked triple-digits in Wednesday's 111-101 loss.

Porzingis followed up producing 18 points and burying 4/8 threes in his first playoff game in green with his worst performance since arriving in Boston.

He went 1/9 in Game 2, missed all four of his attempts from beyond the arc, and was primarily -- though not solely -- responsible for many of his team's 13 turnovers.

He struggled to seal off defenders, making it difficult to deliver entry passes, and there were too many screens that required more force.

Noting the layers of the Celtics' struggles exploiting mismatches, head coach Joe Mazzulla voiced, "Anytime (you have) a post entry, you want to get it closer to the basket, so I think it's all coincided. I think switching. -- there's a reason why people do it. Because it slows you down (and) it makes the two-on-ones a lot longer to see, and you have to fight for those.

"And so, every layer of that has to be better. The initial screen has to be better. The seal has to be better. Catching the pass closer to the scoring area has to be better. The pass has to be better. So, just those things, they test your discipline to be better at all of those little things."

After Thursday's practice at the Auerbach Center and a chance to review the film, Porzingis said about what the Heat did to prevent him from finding his rhythm:

"Obviously, their physicality. They tried to get up into us. Make every catch, (make) every action difficult. But we also got a little bit, I think – because you value the possession so much, we got a little bit stagnant. We just need to play the same way we've been playing and not fall into their game too much."

Elaborating on Miami's success denying him the ball in the low post to help the defending Eastern Conference champions even the series, he pointed them "Being extra. Extra swiping at the ball, handsy. Gambling on some of those possessions worked out for them. 

"It's small margins. (It's) us getting a little bit better position, a little bit cleaner looks at the pass. A little better positioning makes a big difference. They did a hell of a job, to be honest. And I didn't have a good offensive game at all."

As for how Porzingis handles having a tough day at the office, especially in his second playoff game for a team with championship standards, trying to eliminate the opponent who's given them the most difficulty in the postseason, he shared the following.

"No. I almost like to get away from basketball a little bit. Just rest. I always do my same routine. Nothing changes for me. Good game, bad game, I stay the same. We just looked at the things we could better, I looked at my possessions. I'll make sure I'm better offensively."

Further Reading

Heat's Historic Shooting Leaves Celtics Contemplating: 'We Gotta Respond'

Heat Outmuscle and Outshoot Celtics, Sending Series to Miami Tied at 2

Celtics Bench Stars in Its Role in Game 1 Win vs. Heat: 'An Identity of Our Team'

Jayson Tatum Discusses First-Career Playoff Triple-Double: 'A Beautiful Game'

Celtics Protect the Parquet in Dominant Display in Game 1 vs. Heat

Kristaps Porzingis Makes Clear What Celtics' Mindset is Entering Playoffs

How do the Heat Adapt Without Jimmy Butler? Joe Mazzulla Weighs in

Brad Stevens Addresses Potential Extension with Derrick White

Celtics Embracing Challenge to Go Beyond Most Talented

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Bobby Krivitsky


Bobby Krivitsky's experiences include covering the NBA as a credentialed reporter for Basketball Insiders. He's also a national sports talk host for SportsMap Radio, a network airing on 96 radio stations throughout the country. Additionally, he was a major-market host, update anchor, and producer for IMG Audio, and he worked for Bleacher Report as an NFL and NBA columnist.