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Will Injuries Become Tale of 2024 NBA Finals?

Kristaps Porzingis (Boston Celtics) guards Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) in the 2024 NBA Finals

When Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic realized his team would be heading to the NBA Finals, he already knew that he’d be playing through injury.

Will Injuries Become Tale of 2024 NBA Finals?

Nine months into the 2023-24 season, anyone that’s made it this far is at least a little nicked up. A sore spot here. A sprain there. However, Doncic’s in so much pain that he had to receive an injection so that he could play in Game 2.

He’ll be getting another one before Game 3.

Amazingly, Doncic’s also hobbled by a right knee sprain and left ankle soreness.

You might never guess that he was hurt with his numbers; he’s averaging 31.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 3.0 steals per game in the 2024 NBA Finals. In addition, he’s shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from 3. The film does Doncic justice as well, with the 6-foot-7 lead guard often easily shooting over the top of his defender.

Yes, the five-time All-Star is averaging 6.0 turnovers per game, the Celtics’ intelligence and effort shining at the defensive end. He’s also gone 6-13 from the charity stripe, missing freebies that could have a meaningful impact on the game. Yet, Kyrie Irving’s lost touch and ill-advised attempts are the primary reason that the Mavs are losing. After two games, he’s averaging 14.0 points per game on 35.1 percent shooting from the field. He’s went 0-8 from 3.

All of which brings to question how Dallas will fare if Doncic’s injuries begin to get the better of him. While professional athletes are in elite physical condition, they’re still only human.

The Original Unicorn’s Rare Injury

On the other side, the Celtics are dealing with their own big injury. On Tuesday, it was revealed that big man Kristaps Porzingis sustained a rare injury in Game 2. Though he was seen gimping around late in the fourth quarter, it’s unclear what exactly led to it.

The original ‘unicorn,’ Porzingis is averaging 16.0 points and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting 60.0 percent from the field. He’s just 2-7 from 3 to start the series but his dynamic skillset is a major reason the Celtics are up 2-0. His rim-protection and perimeter defense diminish Dallas’s ability to score, and he has the team’s lowest defensive rating (90.7) this series among the players averaging at least 15 minutes per game.

Boston has the superior roster, but if Porzingis is unavailable for Game 3 (or beyond), he will be missed against the Mavs. Of course, ageless wonder Al Horford has excelled this series with his own defensive versatility. Nonetheless, he’s still half a foot shorter than the Latvian giant.


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