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Kristaps Porzingis admits even he was a little surprised how well he moved in Game 1

BOSTON — A little more than an hour before Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals, Kristaps Porzingis could be seen in one of the back halls of the TD Garden stretching out and warming up the calf muscle that had sidelined him since April 29. His return was one of the big storylines, but how much could he really give Boston in his first game back after five weeks?

Plenty. Porzingis changed the game, scoring 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting with a couple of 3s and a couple of huge blocked shots — and that was just in the first half. He did not look like he missed a beat.

“To be honest, the way I moved, looking back now at the game, and I don’t think I even expected myself to be able to be moving so well,” Porzingis said Saturday.

He’s confident he will feel even better for Game 2 on Sunday, partly because he has an extra day off between games (Thursday to Sunday).

“It’s huge. It’s huge, obviously...” Porzingis said of the extra day off. “That was, again, a good sign for myself and now having two days in between and preparing my body again, getting even probably better conditioning now for next game will be huge.”
Because of how well it worked, expect Porzingis to come off the bench again in Game 2. He noted that the roar from the crowd when he entered the game was something he had never experienced before — he and the other Celtics were joking that he needed some WWE-style walk-out music.

“It was insane. I’m not going to lie,” Porzingis said of the crowd reaction. “Just walking in the tunnel was like a WWE-style walk-in. I didn’t even know it was for me at first walking out, hearing that crowd roar and getting real excitement to start the game and give everything to these fans that came.”
Boston fans will be ready for Game 2, and Porzingis says he will be, too.