Kristaps Porzingis is personally excited in regards to the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament, however when requested Friday if it’s a subject of dialog inside the Celtics locker room, the massive man paused earlier than revealing the reality.
“Honestly? No,” Porzingis stated with a smirk.
The Celtics started in-season match play Friday at TD Garden with their first recreation of group play in opposition to the Nets, they usually’ll play three extra video games of their group over the subsequent three weeks – at Toronto on Nov. 17, at Orlando on Nov. 24 and residential in opposition to Chicago on Nov. 28. The winners of the six teams throughout the league plus two wild-card groups will advance to the quarterfinal knockout spherical earlier than the semifinals and championship that will likely be performed in Las Vegas.
All in-season match video games besides the championship recreation will depend towards the common season standings. The in-season match thought – which is widespread in European sports activities leagues and particularly in soccer – has been met with a mixture of pleasure and skepticism. Jaylen Brown stated final week that it’s good for further income for the league and to create some curiosity for early-season video games which have traditionally drawn decrease rankings, however didn’t appear significantly enthusiastic about it.
Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla stated the match isn’t one thing he addressed along with his gamers.
“To me, it’s one of 82,” Mazzulla stated. “There is clearly one thing that we’re making an attempt to create right here within the NBA which I feel is essential. I do just like the construction of in-season tournaments in soccer internationally and so I get what we’re making an attempt to get to. I feel it may be factor. But the best way it’s arrange proper now, it’s nonetheless one in every of 82 and regardless if this was an in-season match recreation or not, we’re taking part in to win the sport, and in order that’s sort of the method that we’re going with. And so, we respect it however it’s a must to win regardless.
Even the optimistic Porzingis admitted there’s a component of the unknown.
“It’s probably going to be a bit more exciting for the fans, but I think the thing is, a lot of people don’t know what it is,” Porzingis stated. “Maybe if it’s a successful year, which I believe it will be this year, next year every game is going to be like OK, now we know what it is. So I think now, we’re going into something that we don’t know, but for us, it’s important to win every game.”
The Celtics debuted a particular courtroom designed for the match that included a darkish inexperienced coloration overlaying many of the flooring. The C’s additionally wore their “City Edition” uniforms for the primary time this season. It included a “BOSTON” wordmark on the entrance of the white jersey that takes inspiration from the façade of the Springfield YMCA because the Celtics paid homage to the birthplace of basketball. The Celtics will put on their “City Edition” uniforms 15 instances this season.
Horford misses recreation vs. Nets
Al Horford missed Friday’s recreation in opposition to the Nets resulting from what the Celtics described as “right knee injury management.” Mazzulla stated Horford skilled some soreness after Wednesday’s loss to the 76ers and he’s hopeful he’ll return for Saturday’s dwelling recreation in opposition to the Raptors.
Horford didn’t play each video games of back-to-backs final season, and that doesn’t seem to alter this season for the 37-year-old huge man. Horford, nevertheless, usually rested on the second recreation of back-to-backs final yr, so sitting out the entrance finish of this weekend’s back-to-back – the primary of this season – represented a change.
The Celtics managed Horford’s workload final season to make sure he was recent for the playoffs – he performed 63 video games and averaged 30.5 minutes per recreation – however nonetheless appeared to decelerate within the Eastern Conference Finals. Horford is now in a bench position for the C’s and has averaged 24.1 minutes in his first seven video games. He’s been sound defensively however has began gradual offensively, capturing simply 22.7 p.c from 3-point vary.
Porzingis stated he expects to play each video games of this weekend’s back-to-back. The huge man – who missed the FIBA World Cup this summer time resulting from plantar fasciitis – has continued a wholesome run after taking part in 65 video games final season. He’s nonetheless working his approach again to full bodily form after lacking that point this summer time.
“I think last year, I added a few things to my routine and stuff that I have been doing now. Honestly, I didn’t start the season in like, perfect shape,” Porzingis stated. “I feel like now, the last couple games, I’m starting to feel like the way I need to feel on the court. I’m still going to improve. Rhythm, everything, just feel, shot, everything is still going to get much better. Outside of the games, my routines are more or less what I did last year, maybe adding a couple more things from the Celtics medical staff. It’s been working great for me.”
“I’m a big lunge guy,” Porzingis stated. “I do lunges before every game, kind of gets my legs going.”
Robert Williams will bear season-ending proper knee surgical procedure, in accordance with a report Friday from ESPN, one other devastating blow to the previous Celtics heart’s injury-plagued profession. Williams – who was traded to the Blazers previous to coaching camp within the Jrue Holiday deal after 5 seasons in Boston – performed six video games with Portland earlier than struggling a proper knee harm final Sunday in opposition to the Grizzlies.
Williams is anticipated to be prepared for the beginning of the 2024-25 season. He missed a number of the 2022 playoffs and the start of final season with the Celtics resulting from a torn meniscus in his left knee. …
The Celtics wore warmup shirts that stated “Raise the Age” on the entrance for Friday’s recreation to lift consciousness for a invoice to steadily increase the age of juvenile jurisdiction to incorporate 18-20 yr olds.
“I think it’s important in general, not just the organization but for humanity,” Mazzulla stated. “My wife worked, she was in criminal justice and she was a probation officer and we saw sometimes how the system can put people back and how it can hold people back and put them in even tougher situations and where they’re at, and so this bill is important to a lot of people because of what it can offer.” …
Nets main scorer Cam Thomas, who’s averaging 26.9 factors per recreation, was out Friday resulting from an ankle sprain. He’s anticipated to overlook about two weeks.