Brown, Porzingis rally Celtics past Dallas in Game 1

INSTANT. Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points off the bench for Boston. / AP
INSTANT. Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points off the bench for Boston. / APCharles Krupa

BOSTON--Kristaps Porzingis didn’t want to make predictions about how his body would respond heading into the NBA Finals after he spent more than a month on the sidelines with a calf injury.

Just fine, it turned out.

Jaylen Brown scored 22 points, Porzingis made an immediate impact off the bench and added 20 and the Boston Celtics powered past the Dallas Mavericks 107-89 on Thursday night in Game 1.

Derrick White finished with 15 points for Boston, which led by 29 points in the first half and connected on 16 3-pointers in a powerful start to its quest for an 18th NBA title.

Porzingis, a 7-footer who had been sidelined since April 29, added six rebounds and three blocks in 21 minutes.

“Tonight was affirmation to myself that I’m pretty good,” Porzingis said. “I’m not perfect, but I can play like this and I can add to this team.”

The last Celtics player to enter the court for pregame warmups, he said he received a jolt of energy from a home crowd, which erupted when he emerged from the tunnel.

“The adrenaline was pumping through my veins,” Porzingis said.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla wasn’t concerned about the layoff affecting Porzingis’ aggressiveness.

“That’s the KP that helped us get to where we are today,” Mazzulla said. “It doesn’t matter how long the guy is off, he’s going to make plays.”

All-Star Jayson Tatum finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Six players scored in double figures for the Celtics, who host Game 2 on Sunday.

“Getting back to this point and being here is really a big deal,” Tatum said. “But two years ago we won the first game and we know the outcome of that series. We still have a lot of work to do.”

Dallas cut the deficit to eight points in the third quarter, but Boston answered with a 14-0 run to quickly pull away again.

“That’s when the game started,” Brown said.

Luka Doncic led Dallas with 30 points. P.J. Washington added 14 points and eight rebounds. But Dallas couldn’t find offensive consistency beyond that, totaling just nine assists on its 35 field goals for the game. The Mavericks didn’t score 25 points in any quarter. / AP


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