Kristaps Porziņģis vows to play in NBA Finals Game 3 after apparent Game 2 injury: 'I'll die out there'

After a starring role for the Celtics in Game 1, Kristaps Porziņģis appeared to tweak something during Boston's Game 2 win Sunday over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

Porziņģis briefly left the sideline for the locker room and moved gingerly throughout his time on the court in the second half of his 12-point, four-rebound effort. He acknowledged after the game that something was wrong and that he would likely undergo imaging on Monday.

He wouldn't say exactly what was ailing him when asked about it postgame.

"Obviously something happened, a little bit," Porziņģis said. "Have a couple of days again. Believe me, we'll do everything we can to be back and moving well."

When asked how difficult it was to play through the injury, he vowed in no uncertain terms that he intends to play in Game 3 in Dallas on Wednesday.

"Not difficult at all," Porziņģis continued. "I'll die out there if we need."

Porziņģis, 28, is playing in his first NBA Finals in his eighth NBA season. The Celtics now have a 2-0 series lead over the Mavericks, whom Porziņģis played with for a season-plus before being traded to the Washington Wizards midway through the 2021-22 season.

For Porziņģis, playing an impact role on championship team would help rewrite a mixed NBA legacy. Porziņģis joined the league in 2015 with the New York Knicks alongside outsized expectations as a first-of-his kind prospect. He's produced statistically (19.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 37.5% 3-point shooting) and made an All-Star team, but hasn't developed into a superstar or contributed to any meaningful winning. He now has a chance to cross that last blemish off his résumé and appears hungry to do so.

Injuries have riddled Porziņģis' career, and he missed 10 games of this postseason with a calf injury suffered in the first round against the Miami Heat. He returned to the lineup for Game 1 against the Mavericks and produced 20 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two 3-pointers in 21 minutes off the bench. He's determined to play out the series.

That's not how injuries work, of course. Imaging will reveal the true story of his availability for Wednesday and beyond. But he sounds confident in his status. As does Celtics head coach Joe Mazulla, who has "zero concern" about Porziņģis' status moving forward.

"He's good," Mazulla said postgame.

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