In the wake of Boston’s 105-98 victory in Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla and center Kristaps Porziņģis downplayed concerns about a leg injury Porziņģis appeared to suffer during the game. Both expressed confidence that the injury was not serious.

However, the situation took a dramatic turn when the Celtics released news of a torn medial retinaculum in Porziņģis’ left leg, raising questions about his availability for Game 3. Despite the injury, Porziņģis remains listed as questionable and is undergoing extensive treatment to play.

Porziņģis, who wore a brace over his left ankle at Tuesday’s media availability, revealed that the injury occurred during a collision with Mavericks center Dereck Lively in the third quarter of Game 2. Although he continued to play initially, his movement was visibly affected, prompting Mazzulla to bench him late in the fourth quarter.

The Celtics have a strong track record without Porziņģis, boasting a 30-5 record in games he missed this season. Yet, his presence significantly elevates their performance, both offensively and defensively. Boston has outscored opponents by 11.8 points per 100 possessions without him this season, demonstrating their depth and adaptability.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum emphasized Porziņģis’ impact, noting, “We’re just so much of a better team when we have him.” Fellow star Jaylen Brown echoed the sentiment, highlighting the team’s “next-man-up mentality” and readiness to adapt.

If Porziņģis is unable to play, the Celtics will rely more heavily on veteran Al Horford and other bench players to fill the void. The team’s resilience and depth will be tested as they aim to secure a pivotal Game 3 win.

For the Mavericks, Porziņģis’ potential absence represents an opportunity to exploit Boston’s weakened interior defense and regain momentum in the series. Coach Jason Kidd emphasized the importance of capitalizing on mistakes and creating scoring opportunities, which has been a struggle for Dallas so far.

As both teams prepare for Game 3, the uncertainty surrounding Porziņģis adds an intriguing layer to the Finals. The Celtics’ ability to adapt and the Mavericks’ efforts to seize this opportunity will be crucial in shaping the outcome of this highly competitive series.

The Celtics will look to maintain their dominance, while the Mavericks aim to turn the tide with strategic adjustments and increased offensive output. All eyes will be on the court to see how this evolving storyline impacts the battle for the championship.