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Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis returns to play for Game 5 of NBA Finals against Mavericks

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Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis returns to play for Game 5 of NBA Finals against Mavericks
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Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis returns to play for Game 5 of NBA Finals against Mavericks

2024-06-18 13:26 Last Updated At:13:30

BOSTON (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis returned for the Boston Celtics just in time to help them win an NBA championship.

The 7-foot-2 Latvian came back on Monday night after missing the previous two games, scoring five points with one rebound in 16 minutes to help the Celtics beat the Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 and win their 18th NBA title.

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Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis, right, is fouled by Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green (8) during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis returned for the Boston Celtics just in time to help them win an NBA championship.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots at the basket as Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) defends during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots at the basket as Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) defends during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Dallas Mavericks' Kyrie Irving (11) attempts a 3-point basket over Boston Celtics' Kristaps Porzingis (8) during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA Basketball Finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Dallas Mavericks' Kyrie Irving (11) attempts a 3-point basket over Boston Celtics' Kristaps Porzingis (8) during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA Basketball Finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) defends as Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) looks to shoot at the basket during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) defends as Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) looks to shoot at the basket during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) looks to shoot at the basket as Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II, left, defends during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) looks to shoot at the basket as Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II, left, defends during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis sprays champagne while celebrating after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 to win the NBA basketball finals Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis sprays champagne while celebrating after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 to win the NBA basketball finals Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) dunk in front of Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) and forward P.J. Washington (25) during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) dunk in front of Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) and forward P.J. Washington (25) during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

“I gave everything I could. I gave everything I could,” he said. “And, man, it feels great to be a champion.”

Porzingis missed Game 3 with a dislocated tendon in his left ankle. He was cleared to play a limited role in Game 4, but never took off his warmups during Boston’s 122-84 loss in Dallas.

He had been listed as questionable Monday morning before going through an on-court workout about 2 1/2 hours before tipoff. The workout included shooting, some light-contact post work and lateral movement drills.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters before Monday's game that Porzingis would be available and said, “We expect to see him tonight." Porzingis drew a big cheer when he got off the Boston bench to check into the game with 6:49 left in the first quarter.

He missed his first shot, a 3-point attempt, then made one of two free throws. He added a pair of baskets, including a fourth-quarter dunk that gave Boston a 21-point lead — and finished 2 for 4 from the floor.

“Tonight was the night,” he said. “I was like, ‘Listen, I’m going to give it everything I have.’ And I’m just super happy to be a part of this and give something to the team.”

The Celtics have said that his tendon issue is unrelated to the calf strain Porzingis sustained April 29 in the first round against Miami that led to him missing 10 games.

“It was something torn. And then my tendon is just out of place. And it pretty much hurts on every step. Like, I would take a walk in Dallas, and my leg would swell up,” he said. "I was like, I don’t know how I’m going to play, if I’m going to play. But my mindset was always, I’m going to try to find a way how I can manage this.

“And somehow I got it going for this game. A lot of it was for sure like the adrenaline from just playing at the Garden and playing in front of our fans and having that opportunity to close it out. And, man, I got it going.”

Porzingis averaged 13.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in his first six games this postseason, including 20 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in Game 1 against Dallas.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis, right, is fouled by Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green (8) during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis, right, is fouled by Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green (8) during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots at the basket as Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) defends during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) shoots at the basket as Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) defends during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Dallas Mavericks' Kyrie Irving (11) attempts a 3-point basket over Boston Celtics' Kristaps Porzingis (8) during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA Basketball Finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Dallas Mavericks' Kyrie Irving (11) attempts a 3-point basket over Boston Celtics' Kristaps Porzingis (8) during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA Basketball Finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) defends as Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) looks to shoot at the basket during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) defends as Dallas Mavericks forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) looks to shoot at the basket during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) looks to shoot at the basket as Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II, left, defends during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) looks to shoot at the basket as Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II, left, defends during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis sprays champagne while celebrating after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 to win the NBA basketball finals Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis sprays champagne while celebrating after defeating the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 to win the NBA basketball finals Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) dunk in front of Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) and forward P.J. Washington (25) during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) dunk in front of Dallas Mavericks center Dereck Lively II (2) and forward P.J. Washington (25) during the second half of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals, Monday, June 17, 2024, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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Caitlin Clark breaks WNBA's game assists record with 19 in Fever's loss to Wings

2024-07-18 11:15 Last Updated At:11:22

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Caitlin Clark smiled and hesitated just long enough for Indiana teammate Aliyah Boston to intercept the answer for what it meant to the rookie to set a WNBA record with 19 assists in a game.

Clark's milestone came in the Fever’s 101-93 loss to the Dallas Wings on Wednesday night in the final game before the month-long break for the Olympics, which is why Boston jumped in.

“She’s going to say it means nothing,” Boston said. “But I think it’s pretty cool. So, sorry.”

Perhaps Clark hesitated because of her turnover with 36 seconds left and the Fever trailing by four. She got trapped, lost the ball on a steal by Natasha Howard and stayed crouched on the court in disbelief after the Wings called a timeout to preserve their possession.

On Clark’s record-setting assist, she set up Kelsey Mitchell up for a 3-pointer that tied it at 93 with 2:22 remaining. The turnover came during Dallas’ game-ending 8-0 run.

“Yeah, the late turnover. That one kills, for sure,” Clark said. “It’s like a fine line of they were up pressuring me so then I kind of got behind them and was able to attack and then I tried to pull it and kind of lost my handle.”

The previous record was 18 by Courtney Vandersloot for Chicago on Aug. 31, 2020. Vandersloot also had 18 in a playoff game on Sept. 28, 2021. Ticha Penicheiro set the old rookie mark of 16 for Sacramento on July 29, 1998.

Clark scored 24 points on a rough shooting night from 3-point range (2 of 9), while Boston scored 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Eight of Boston's baskets came on assists from Clark.

“I just try to set my teammates up for success. I think at times I can almost overpass,” Clark said. “There probably could have been a few times were instead of passing that leads to a turnover I may have, I can probably shoot the ball. Especially with (Boston). I’m just looking to set her up so much. My eyes are almost always on our post players.”

Clark is the first rookie and ninth player overall in WNBA history with at least 400 points and 200 assists in a season. Chelsea Gray has three such seasons, Alyssa Thomas has two and six other players — Sue Bird, Jordin Canada, Natasha Cloud, Sabrina Ionescu, Courtney Williams and Vandersloot — have done it once.

Clark’s previous season high for assists was 13, set four times. The most recent was in a 95-86 victory over Phoenix on Friday night.

AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) looks to make a pass as Dallas Wings' Odyssey Sims, rear, defends in the second half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) looks to make a pass as Dallas Wings' Odyssey Sims, rear, defends in the second half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) and her teammates walk off the court after their loss to the Dallas Wings in a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) and her teammates walk off the court after their loss to the Dallas Wings in a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) drives to the basket for a shot as Dallas Wings' Sevgi Uzun (1) and Arike Ogunbowale, center right, defend in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) drives to the basket for a shot as Dallas Wings' Sevgi Uzun (1) and Arike Ogunbowale, center right, defend in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) walks up court in the closing seconds of the team's WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) walks up court in the closing seconds of the team's WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark, left, looks to the bench after being stripped of the ball that was recovered by Dallas Wings' Odyssey Sims, bottom right, late in the second half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark, left, looks to the bench after being stripped of the ball that was recovered by Dallas Wings' Odyssey Sims, bottom right, late in the second half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) and Dallas Wings' Natasha Howard (6) react to an officials call in the second half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) and Dallas Wings' Natasha Howard (6) react to an officials call in the second half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) smiles as she talks with an official standing nearby in the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) smiles as she talks with an official standing nearby in the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark celebrates in the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark celebrates in the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) makes a pass as Dallas Wings' Odyssey Sims (2) defends in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) makes a pass as Dallas Wings' Odyssey Sims (2) defends in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark advances the ball up court against the Dallas Wings in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark advances the ball up court against the Dallas Wings in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark shoots free throws in the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark shoots free throws in the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Dallas Wings, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) celebrates after sinking a basket in the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Indiana Fever Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) celebrates after sinking a basket in the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Indiana Fever Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark, right, works to get to the basket against Dallas Wings' Odyssey Sims in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark, right, works to get to the basket against Dallas Wings' Odyssey Sims in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) drives to the basket past Dallas Wings' Teaira McCowan in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Indiana Fever's Caitlin Clark (22) drives to the basket past Dallas Wings' Teaira McCowan in the first half of a WNBA basketball game Wednesday, July 17, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

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