Mavs Coach Jason Kidd Praises Kristaps Porzingis as ‘Perfect Fit’ for Celtics

Mavs coach Jason Kidd praised Kristaps Porzingis as a “perfect fit” for the Celtics, highlighting his intangibles on offense and defense.

DALLAS — Since being traded by the Dallas Mavericks in 2022, Kristaps Porzingis has found a home in the NBA. He’s playing a pivotal role for the league’s best team, averaging 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in 32 games.

The Celtics are on the second night of a back-to-back when facing the Mavs, resulting in Porzingis being ruled out for Monday’s matchup. In Boston’s previous outing, he proved integral in the 116-107 victory over the Houston Rockets, totaling 32 points, six rebounds, and five blocks.

Mavs coach Jason Kidd praised Porzingis as a “perfect fit” for what the Celtics seek to accomplish — highlighting the value of his shooting presence, ability to play inside-out, and overall defensive versatility.

“He causes a big problem,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said of Porzingis. “He’s playing great for them. You saw that last night. He can stretch the defense with his three-point capabilities — his range. But also being able to throw it to him in the post or on the mismatch inside and his ability to get to the free throw line so he fits.

“Everyone will talk about his offense, but I think it’s his defense that isn’t talked about enough of being able to change shots or block shots,” Kidd explained. “He’s done that at a high clip for those for the Celtics this season. I think he’s a perfect fit for what they’re trying to do.”

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla highlighted the value of Porzingis’ inside-out presence while also explaining how having it has required the team to be prepared for different coverages and matchup changes throughout games.

“Offensively, the matchups and the coverages are different, so whether he gets the ball or not, teams have to defend us differently because of the threat of his inside-out presence,” Mazulla said. “The matchups and the coverage we face will change. It’s also had to force us to grow as a team because we have to learn.

“They’re constantly changing matchups on us. We saw it a little bit in the Denver game. It happened a little bit last night,” Mazzulla explained. “And we could use what we saw in the Denver game to attack matchup recognition in the Houston game better.

The Celtics appreciate how Porzingis’ intangibles enable him to be a rim protector as the center in any lineup while still being capable of playing alongside another center when the team wants to deploy a bigger combination.

“Defensively, he gives us the ability to play small and still protect the rim and then play alongside another big,” Mazzulla.

Porzinigs has not played a game at American Airlines Center since being traded to the Washington Wizards. With the Celtics being a member of the Eastern Conference, they will not return in the regular season until 2024-25.

Gideon Canice

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