After losing on opening night, the New York Knicks will get another look at Kristaps Porzingis and the Celtics on Monday. The former Knick’s best game of the season came in New York when he dropped 30 points on 5-of-9 shooting from three with eight rebounds and four blocks.
Porzingis has played in all nine of Boston’s games and has failed to score in double-digits only once. He’s averaging 19.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, down from the 23.2 points and 8.4 rebounds he averaged last year in Washington. Porzingis’ role changes on a nightly basis (subscription required) with the Celtics, which he’s okay with.
"“It doesn’t really matter for me as long as we’re playing the right way, we’re making the right pass, we’re shooting the open shots, doing the right things, like, it doesn’t matter,” Porziņģis said after beating the Raptors, 117-94. “With this kind of talent level, it doesn’t matter who takes your shots. You know, it has to be the right play.”"
As The Athletic’s Jared Weiss noted, Porzingis’ usage rate (21.6) is at a career low, but that isn’t a cause for concern. That’s what happens when Boston boasts a starting lineup with Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and KP.
Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis has career-low usage rate through nine games
Joe Mazzulla is in his second season as head coach of the Celtics, and he’s guided his team to a 7-2 start. He knows that there will be nights where Kristaps Porzingis’ full impact doesn’t show up in the box score, and to him, that’s a testament to the kind of player the 28-year-old is.
"“His open mindedness towards being coached has way far exceeded my expectations and his ability to just, ‘What can I do to make our team get better?’” said Mazzulla."
After going from New York to Dallas and then to Washington, Porzinigs is with one of the best teams in the league. Boston’s last championship came in 2008, and the organization hopes 2024 will be their year. Porzingis’ willingness to do whatever must be done to help his team win makes the Celtics better, even if that means taking only four shots in a game (like he did against Brooklyn).
He shined at his former stomping grounds a few weeks ago, but hopefully, the narrative will change on Monday in Boston. Mitchell Robinson is playing the best basketball of his career, so maybe he’ll be the center who stands out most at TD Garden.