Boston Celtics Center Kristaps Porzingis Sidelined for First-Place Team

Posted on: November 28, 2023, 10:31h. 

Last updated on: November 29, 2023, 10:07h.

The Boston Celtics won’t have big man Kristaps Porzingis in the lineup for at least a week while he recovers from a calf injury.

Kristaps Porzingis Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis, seen here celebrating a 3-point shot against the Memphis Grizzlies at TD Garden, could miss several games with a calf injury. (Image: USA Today Sports)

Porzingis underwent an MRI on Saturday to gauge the severity of his left calf strain, but the Celtics didn’t reveal the results. Porzingis made a vague reference via social media that he avoided a serious injury and will be back soon.

We will re-evaluate Kristaps in a week or so,” said head coach Joe Mazzulla.

The Celtics have the best record in the NBA this season at 13-4, and have yet to lose a game on the home court at TD Garden, sporting a 7-0 record. The visiting Chicago Bulls will attempt to tarnish the Celtics’ perfect home record when they meet on Tuesday night.

Porzingis Sustains First Injury of the Season

Porzingis tweaked his left calf in a game against the Orlando Magic on Friday afternoon. The injury occurred at the start of the third quarter, and Porzingis missed the remainder of the second half.

The upstart Magic won, 113-96, and currently have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 12-5, thanks to a seven-game winning streak.

The Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire Porzingis from the Washington Wizards. The three-team trade sent veteran point guard Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Celtics snagged Porzingis in the deal.

On paper, the Porzingis trade made sense for the Celtics, who added a much-needed scoring big man with strong spatial awareness who can knock down 3-pointers. However, general manager Brad Stevens knew he gambled on Porzingis’ health. Porzingis battled injuries during previous stints with the New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, and the Wizards.

Prior to his calf injury, Porzingis looked like a great fit with the new-look Celtics. He averaged 18.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game in 15 games with the Celtics. He shot a career-best 54.7% from the floor and connected on 32.4% of his 3-point attempts.

Porzingis is the Celtics’ third-highest scorer behind Jayson Tatum ((28.1 points per game) and Jaylen Brown (21.4 ppg). With Porzingis out, the Celtics will rely on veteran centers Al Horford (6.3 points, 6.5 rebounds per game) and Luke Kornet (4.7 points, 3.6 rebounds per game).

Celtics and In-Season Tournament

The Celtics are on a mission to win the NBA Championship and aren’t focused on winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament.

The Celtics have a chance to win Group C and advance to the single-elimination game quarterfinals. The winner of each group — six overall — automatically qualifies for the knockout stage. Two wild-card teams — one from each conference — will be selected based on their best record in the tournament. The scoring differential in group play will break any ties.

The Magic are currently in first place in Group C with a 3-1 record. The Celtics (2-1) are in second place, with their final group game Tuesday night against the Bulls.

The Celtics are currently eighth on DraftKings’ futures board at +1400 odds to win the In-Season Tournament.

The semifinals and finals for the In-Season Tournament will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The semifinals are slated for Thursday, December 7. The championship game will take place on Saturday, December 9.

Futures Darling, but a Losing ATS Record

The Celtics are the consensus favorite to win the NBA championship at +380 odds. The defending champion Denver Nuggets and Milwaukee Bucks are second cofavorites to win the title at +425 odds.

The Celtics have been at the top of the futures board since they added point guard and defensive guru Jrue Holiday in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Celtics are +150 odds to win the Eastern Conference for the second time in the last three seasons and are slightly ahead of the Bucks at +190.

The Celtics are -400 odds to win the Atlantic Division. They’re ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers (+330), New York Knicks (+2500), Toronto Raptors (+25000), and Brooklyn Nets (+25000).

The Celtics might have the most wins in the NBA with 13 victories, but they have a losing record against the point spread at 7-8-2.

The Celtics are -13.5 favorites against the struggling Bulls (5-13) on Tuesday. The Bulls have the worst betting record in the NBA this season at 5-12-1. The Bulls have lost four games in a row and are bogged down in locker room drama and nonstop trade rumors involving all-star guard Zach LaVine.