Home News Knicks could benefit from Kristaps Porzingis’ lingering calf injury

Knicks could benefit from Kristaps Porzingis’ lingering calf injury

INDIANAPOLIS — Ah. Now that’s interesting.

The Boston Celtics, who have been without starting center and former Knicks first-round pick Kristaps Porzingis since Game 4 of their first-round series against the Miami Heat, are now expected to be without Porzingis for the start of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Porzingis, who has been out due to a soleus strain of his right calf, is expected to miss Games 1 and 2 of the conference finals, according to ESPN, though the Celtics are reportedly optimistic he’ll return at some point in the series.

Porzingis’ absence is good news for a Knicks team entering Friday’s Game 6 against the Indiana Pacers just one win shy of a conference finals showdown against the Celtics.

The Knicks, who are ravaged by injury, have also struggled defending three-point shooting centers (stretch-fives) this season, in particular Porzingis.

In five regular-season games against the Knicks, Porzingis:

  • Averaged 21.6 points on 54.8% shooting from the field
  • Made at least two and as many as five threes, averaging 3.2 made threes on six attempts per game, converting at better than a 50% clip

The Celtics still went 21-4 in games without Porzingis this season, but the Knicks, who are without three-time All-Star Julius Randle (dislocated shoulder), starting center Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery) and sixth man Bojan Bogdanovic (ankle surgery) will take what they can get.

OG Anunoby also missed his fourth straight game due to a hamstring strain, but he is expected to be available for Game 1 of the conference finals should the Knicks advance past the Pacers in the second round.


Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was Jalen Brunson’s head coach on the Dallas Mavericks two seasons before he left the Mavericks for the Knicks in the summer of 2022.

Did Brunson need to leave the ball-dominant superstar Luka Doncic to evolve into superstardom of his own elsewhere?

“He’s a great player. He’s a winner. He had a lot of big nights when I was there with him. The following year after I left, he had a lot of big nights there,” Carlisle said ahead of tipoff of Game 6 on Friday. “I know this: Had he stayed in Dallas, he would have been an important part of what they were gonna do going forward, and he would have made it work at a very, very high level. He’s just so much about what’s good about our game. He’s a great leader. He’s a great team guy and all that, but as far as speculating, he’s a great player, and Kyrie Irving’s a great player, too. And they’re very lucky that they ended up with Kyrie. He’s been phenomenal for them.”


The Knicks got a rare two days of rest in-between Game 5 in New York and Game 6 back at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Josh Hart, who leads the NBA in minutes logged in the playoffs, said the rest was beneficial for a team that played five games in 10 nights prior to their rest period ahead of Game 6.

“Five games in 10 days is an interesting one. I wouldn’t say [the rest time] is a relief, but it’s two fold,” he said. “Obviously rest and get your body right. On the other side, we had a pretty dominant Game 5, and they probably got hammered with questions about physicality, energy and rebounding. That’s all they heard for the last two and a half days. So we know that’s all they heard for the last two and a half days. They are going to come out with a renewed sense of energy and physicality. Two fold. I’d rather have two days off than a game every other day.”


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