Celtics’ Kristaps Porzingis Has ‘Goosebumps’ Heading Into Finals

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Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis had been sidelined with a calf strain for the past 10 games, but the Boston big man confirmed he will play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals during his Media Day press conference.

“It burns inside of me, not being able to be out there,” Porzingis told reporters, per team-provided video. “But tomorrow, I will finally get the chance, and I’m excited about it. … I will play tomorrow.”

The 7-foot-2 standout expressed the chills he is anticipating when he goes out on the court for the first time since Game 4 of the first round against the Miami Heat.

“Ooof. It’s going to be goosebumps for sure,” he said. “Especially not playing for a while and then coming back in this kind of environment. It’s going to be special. It’s going to be goosebumps for sure. I’m really, really, really looking forward to it.”

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Even though Porzingis was not able to help the Celtics eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers, he never felt like he wasn’t part of the team.

“It’s been tough,” Porzingis said. “I’ve never felt like I wasn’t a part of this. I am a part of this. I’ve tried to be with the team in any capacity I could.”

Porzingis added: “Guys, so far, have been playing great; taking care of business. Guys stepping up … Al (Horford) has been unbelievable for us, and I just look forward to adding more to us to complete the mission.”

Despite missing so much of Boston’s run in the playoffs, Porzingis isn’t focused on his individual redemption.

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“We have one goal in mind,” he said. “It’s not about individual redemptions or whatever agenda … we don’t care about this, and it’s been like that since day one. Since I got here, my message was clear — I’m just here to help the team win and unfortunately, I haven’t had the minutes on the floor with the guys. But now, I get the chance, and it’s all about winning another banner.”

Porzingis returned to Celtics’ practice on Saturday but said he doesn’t really “love” the preparation as much as the game itself.

“I love the moment when the game comes,” he said. “I really love the moment when I get to the game. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, in the moment when we finally get on the floor, and here the fans and leave our passion out there.”

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