Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis out for Game 3

    If the Boston Celtics want to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals on Wednesday, they’ll have to do it without their 7-foot-2 unicorn.

    Kristaps Porzingis suffered a foot injury in Boston’s Game 2 victory, one that left him limping and kept him out of the game’s final minutes, though the injury does, perhaps, sound worse than it is.

    The posterior tibialis tendon is on the inside of the ankle, which connects the calf muscle to foot bones. Porzingis tore the tissue that keeps that tendon in place, called the medial retinaculum, and the tendon pulled out of place.

    With a calf injury already causing Porzingis to miss five weeks of the playoffs, Boston’s medical staff was cautious in holding the big man out. They also might feel that with a 2-0 lead over the Dallas Mavericks, plus a 12-1 playoff record without Porzingis, they should err on the side of caution.

    It’s still a relief for Dallas, who has had trouble succeeding on lob plays with Porzingis in the game. He’s scored 32 points in the Finals, shooting 60% and blocking five shots. The Celtics outscored the Mavericks by 25 points in Porzingis’ 44 minutes. With him on the bench, the teams are dead even in points.

    Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla could go to Luke Kornet off the bench in KP’s place, but it’s more likely he plays small in order to keep the Mavericks’ big men spaced out. 

    While Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II are big lob threats, they don’t really post up. Boston might try Jayson Tatum as a small ball big when Al Horford sits.

    The injury is a big blow to the Celtics and a boon for the Mavericks, who struggled to stop their old teammate. It doesn’t make Dallas the betting favorite in the series, but they’ve got a much better chance, thanks to an injury most people can hardly pronounce.

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