'It wasn’t a big deal': Celtics' Kristaps Porzingis bares no problem coming off the bench in impressive Finals debut vs Mavericks

Published June 7, 2024, 1:26 PMPao Ambat

If Kristaps Porzingis plays like this for the rest of the way for the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks are in deep trouble.

Kristaps Porzingis sparked a dominating Game 1 Finals win for the Boston Celtics.

Whether starting or coming off the bench in his NBA Finals debut, Kristaps Porzingis didn’t care at all. 

He did his damage early in an emphatic return in the Boston Celtics’ first NBA Finals game in two years.

“It wasn’t a big deal. I trust Joe [Mazzulla] and he trusts me,” Porzingis said of head coach Joe Mazzulla to let him come off bench in the Celtics' dominating Finals opener win over the Dallas Mavericks.


The Latvian big man provided instant for the Celtics, setting the tone early after coming off the bench en route to a 107-89 win for Boston's first finals win in two years.


[ALSO READ: Porzingis shines in NBA Finals debut as Celtics turn back Mavericks for title series head start]


Porzingis checked into the game for the first time in over one-and-a-half-months as a substitute with 7:17 left in the opening frame. He seemed unfazed by the long layoff, though, shooting 8-for-13 from the field and finishing with 20 points while collecting six rebounds and three blocks.

“The adrenaline was pumping through my veins and that definitely helped. It wasn’t ideal that I was out for a long time but I did everything I could to prepare mentally for this moment,” the Celtics big man spoke.

“It paid off and we got the job done tonight.” One win down and three more to go for the Celtics, who showed a little rust from their 10-day layoff after sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals.

The former Dallas Maverick bared he had no problem coming off the bench in his first Finals stint, and fully accepted whatever role Mazulla gave to him prior to the game.

“From day one, I came here and said like I’ll do whatever it takes to help this team win. This situation [coming off the bench] made sense. I knew I could prepare coming off the bench, which is something different from me, but that’s what I did.”

“I stepped into that role and embraced it and [I] had a good game.”


Game 2 of the Dallas-Boston championship series will be Monday, June 10 at 8:00 a.m. and you can watch it live on One Sports, NBA TV Philippines, the Pilipinas Live app, and RPTV.