NBA Insider Details Kristaps Porzingis' Role if Active for NBA Finals Game 5

Jun 9, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) blocks Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) in the third quarter during game two of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) blocks Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) in the third quarter during game two of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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Before the Celtics' 122-84 Game 4 loss to the Mavericks, Joe Mazzulla shared that Kristaps Porzingis is available, but "We're only gonna use him in very specific instances if necessary."

The nature of Wednesday's defeat rendered the seven-foot-three center a spectator, prompting questions about whether he'd step on the floor again for anything other than being out there in the closing minutes as Boston's crowned NBA champions.

Leading into Game 5 at TD Garden, Shams Charania detailed how the hosts would utilize the Latvian native while on Run It Back on FanDuel TV.

"Right before Game 4, what I was told is that they would only utilize Kristaps Porzingis in situational appearances, right? When you're guarding the inbound, if you need to shoot a free throw, we need you to defend the rim on a lob threat potentially with 0.3 whatever seconds left on a possession. I would expect the same here in Game 5," said Charania, adding, "He's just not there from a physical perspective."

The NBA insider concluded, "The expectation around the Celtics (is that), at least, he's going to play a similar role that he did in Game 4."

Boston currently lists the former All-Star as questionable on its initial injury report for Monday's matchup due to the left posterior tibialis dislocation that prevented him from playing in the last two tilts.

It's an injury that Inside The Celtics spoke with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Volk, who previously served as a team physician for the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to understand how it might impact his performance, the risk of further injury and whether he'll require offseason surgery.

Porzingis averaged 16 points, five rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in the first two games against Dallas, helping Boston build a 2-0 series lead.

"He's an unbelievable player, he's somebody we care for deeply, and he gives us a great boost," voiced Payton Pritchard, adding, "We're lucky to have him."

The former Oregon Duck also expressed, "He definitely wants to play. He's a really big competitor, and I know he's gonna do everything in his power to get out there and put on that uniform with his teammates."

Based on Charania's intel, it appears Porzingis will likely be active and, while limited, able to contribute in specific ways if needed.

Given the restrictive nature of his role, the Celtics will likely continue leaning on Xavier Tillman Sr. to spell Al Horford. The former Michigan State Spartan has proven dependable in this role, stepping up when more gets asked of him throughout his career.

That includes blocking Luka Doncic twice and burying a three from the right corner in Boston's 106-99 victory in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Tillman providing another boost off the bench is a development that could help turn Monday night's contest into a championship coronation.

Further Reading

Celtics Discuss Keeping Mavs from Building on Dominant Game 4

Dependable Xavier Tillman Discusses Learning to 'Be a Star in Your Own Role'

Celtics Detail Keys to Perhaps Their Best Quarter This Postseason

Celtics Weather Late Storm to Move Within One Win of Banner 18

Sports Doctor Details Challenges, Risks of Kristaps Porzingis Playing in NBA Finals

Jrue Holiday's 'Championship DNA' Rubbing Off on Celtics

Stifling Defense Moves Celtics Halfway to Banner 18

Jayson Tatum's Joy Outweighing Pressure of NBA Finals Return

Inside the Moment that Propelled Celtics to NBA Finals Game 1 Win

Celtics Set the Tone for the NBA Finals with Game 1 Haymaker


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Bobby Krivitsky

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.