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NBA playoffs: Celtics cruise to Game 4 win over Heat, lose Kristaps Porzingis to calf injury

Written by on April 30, 2024

The Boston Celtics got a big game from Derrick White and cruised to a 102-88 win over the Miami Heat Monday night.

But they immediately shift their attention to Kristaps Porzingis, who pulled up with a non-contact calf injury in the second quarter and limped to the locker room. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Al Horford after halftime and didn’t return to the game.

With the win, the Celtics take a 3-1 series lead and face a closeout game in Boston. Porzingis’ status for that game and beyond wasn’t clear Monday night.

The injury took place late in the second quarter with Boston leading, 47-31. Porzingis took a pass from Jaylen Brown in a halfcourt set, then lost control of the ball while pulling up in apparent pain. He immediately raised his hand to be taken out of the game and started to limp.

The Celtics listed him as doubtful at halftime with right calf tightness. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported during the third quarter that Porzingis is scheduled to undergo imaging on Tuesday and that early indications are that he did not suffer an Achilles tendon injury.

Porzingis appeared to tweak something two possessions prior to leaving the floor. He came up limping in transition after a Celtics miss.

He remained in the game only to leave the floor with a limp moments later. He was seen in a walking boot after the game.

He also tweeted after the game “will be good.”

The injury is a potentially significant blow for Boston if Porzingis is forced to miss extended time. Porzingis was key for the Celtics as the rolled to the NBA’s best regular-season record at 64-18 in his first season with Boston. He averaged 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 51.6% from the floor and 37.5% from 3 in the regular season.

Kristaps Porzingis left Monday's Game 4 with a calf injury. (Michael Laughlin/Reuters)

Kristaps Porzingis left Monday’s Game 4 with a calf injury. (Michael Laughlin/Reuters)

With Porzingis sidelined and Boston’s All-Stars struggling from the field, White took the offensive reins. He started hot with six 3-pointers in the first half and finished with a game-high 38 points alongside four rebounds, three assists and three blocks.

The point total was a playoff career-high for White. He shot 15 of 26 from the field and 8 of 15 from 3-point distance. No other Celtics starter shot 50% or better from the field.

Behind White’s hot start, the Celtics seized a 34-24 first-quarter lead. He kept up the pace in the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers to extend Boston’s lead to 47-31.

He had 22 points at halftime as Boston entered the break with a 53-36 advantage.

Boston scored the first five points of the second half and threatened to run away with the game before the fourth quarter. But Miami’s cold first-half shooting (35.6%) subsided, and the Heat rallied to close the gap to 91-78 with 5:22 remaining.

Then the Celtics got another injury scare. With 5:04 remaining and Jayson Tatum holding the ball at the top of the key, officials whistled an off-ball foul on Heat guard Patty Mills.

Tatum then attempt to shoot after the whistle. Bam Adebayo challenged the shot, and Tatum landed on Adebayo’s foot, rolling his left ankle. Tatum writhed on the floor in pain for several moments, then eventually got up with the help of his teammates.

Officials went to the replay monitor to review the play. The called a flagrant foul on Adebayo for landing under Tatum’s feet.

Tatum was fine and returned to the court to hit both flagrant free throws. The play halted the Heat run, and Boston closed out the game from there without further challenge from Miami.

Tatum finished the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists on an off shooting night (5 of 14). Brown tallied 17 points and six turnovers while shooting 7 of 18 from the field. White’s shooting was the difference for Boston in an otherwise lackluster night on offense.

Adebayo led Miami with 25 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. Tyler Herro scored 19 points, and Caleb Martin scored 18. No other Heat player scored in double figures. The Celtics forced 13 Heat turnovers, won the rebounding margin, 46-42 and limited Miami to 40.7% shooting from the floor and 27.3% (9 of 33) shooting from 3-point distance.

The series shifts back to Boston for Game 5, where the Celtics can advance to Round 2 with a win.

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