Porzingis looking forward to ‘incredible’ postseason with C’s

Porzingis looking forward to ‘incredible’ postseason with C’s

“I just love basketball so much … especially playing here.”

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Kristaps Porzingis could not be happier about heading into the playoffs as a Boston Celtic

Kristaps Porzingis has been all smiles since joining the Boston Celtics. The veteran big man has hardly looked happier than he has while helping the C’s to an NBA-best 62-16 record.

Porzingis was in a chipper mood again after Sunday’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers. With four games to go until the NBA playoffs, he couldn’t contain his excitement for the opportunity to bring Banner 18 to Boston.

“I’m really excited,” he told reporters. “I mean, last year I was sitting back home in Latvia just following the results and watching the games and stuff and I’m thinking to myself, like, of course it’s nice to finish the season early and all, but like, there’s nothing else to do. Like what is there better to do than play basketball right now? Nothing. You know what I mean?

“Yeah, you can go for a little vacation, but this is what I love to do. I don’t get burned out, ‘Oh, I need a rest.’ Like, I just love basketball so much, you know? And especially playing here. And playing in the postseason is gonna be incredible, so I’m looking forward to that. Of course, it’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be tough, like, physically and mentally, but if we want to achieve what we want to achieve, then it’s not gonna be easy.”

Asked by NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin whether he’s having the most fun of his basketball career, Porzingis shared a thoughtful answer.

“Probably yes, in the NBA, I think,” he said. “I don’t know, it’s hard to compare. Because like, my time in New York was also out of this world, right? Rookie, coming on this big stage. And then you haven’t signed any, like, big deal. So there’s no expectations for you. You’re just playing free and beating all the expectations, right?

“Then even before that, when I was living in the south of Spain, one game a week and you win and you go and sit outside, it’s a 12 o’clock game and you’re a young guy, young team, who are winning in the playoffs. Those are also some good memories that I have but right now I think this could be one of the most fun moments for me, for sure. And as I’ve said, just playing at this place — it’s probably my favorite place.”

As much as Porzingis loves Boston, the feeling is mutual. The 7-foot-3 Latvian is averaging 20.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game this season. On Sunday, he continued to be a force on both ends with 12 points, 10 boards, five blocks, and three steals.

Acquired from Washington in last summer’s three-team deal that shipped Marcus Smart to Memphis, Porzingis has been the X factor for Boston. He has fit perfectly to form a “Big Three” alongside fellow stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. When Tatum and/or Brown are out or off their game, Porzingis has consistently picked up the slack and played like a No. 1.

He’ll need to keep up his stellar play when the Celtics begin their postseason journey later this month. For now, the C’s will shift their focus to Tuesday’s game in Milwaukee, followed by their final three regular-season games against the New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards at TD Garden.

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