Kristaps Porzingis Reveals How Much It Hurt Sitting Out IST Loss to Pacers

Kristaps Porzingis

Getty Kristaps Porzingis recently admitted how much it hurt him to miss the In-Season Tournament game against the Indiana Pacers.

To some, the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament was a big deal. The league found a way to spice up November basketball games with its tourney.

While the Boston Celtics have much bigger goals this season than winning the IST, the tournament had some incentive, with each member of the winning team taking home $500,000. The Celtics made it to the quarterfinals but played without Kristaps Porzingis, who was out with a calf injury. The Celtics dropped a 122-112 decision to the Indiana Pacers, and Porzingis recently explained how painful it was for him to sit out that game.

Kristaps Porzingis Has Been Exactly What the Boston Celtics Needed

It’s no secret Porzingis has had a history of injuries during his nine years in the NBA. He missed the entire 2018-19 season with a torn ACL. He has played more than 57 games in a season just once since then.

The Celtics made waves this offseason by bringing in the 7-foot-3 center from Latvia in a three-team trade that sent veteran guard Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Porzingis has been exactly what the Celtics craved. He’s given the team much-needed size and a strong defensive presence inside the paint. Offensively, he creates a nightmare matchup problem for opponents with his post moves and his ability to stretch the floor with his solid 3-point shooting.

Porzingis has helped take the pressure off Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown by being another offensive threat on a well-rounded team. With Porzingis, Tatum, Brown, Derrick White, and Jrue Holiday, the Celtics arguably have the best starting five in the league, and it shows. Boston boasts the best record in the NBA at 26-7 heading into a matchup with the Utah Jazz on Friday, January 5.

For the season, Porzingis is averaging 20.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. He also averages nearly two blocks per game.

Kristaps Porzingis Admits It Was Difficult Sitting Out Against the Pacers

During a recent sit-down interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg for the “Celtics Talk” podcast, Porzingis touched on many topics. One of those subjects was the team’s clear-cut goal this year — hanging Banner 18 from the rafters.

In order for Boston to bring home a championship this season, the Celtics have to stay healthy. For that to happen, it may require plenty of sacrifice. Center Al Horford doesn’t play the second half of back-to-backs, in order to keep him fresh. With Porzingis, it’s making sure he’s not rushed back into action after an injury.

Porzingis probably could have played in that loss to the Pacers, but it was more important for Boston to make sure he’s around long term, even if that mean sacrificing a win in the In-Season Tournament. Porzingis admitted he was itching to get out there on the floor with his teammates, but he understood why he was held back.

“Even the In-Season Tournament, it hurt me,” Porzingis told Forsberg. “I wanted to play that game. It just hurts. It hurts every time.

“Of course, the big picture, the long term, is what is the main focus, and that’s it. We’re focused on that and doing the daily work necessary to get there.”

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