Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis recorded 30 points against the New York Knicks in Wednesday night’s 108-104 season-opener win, the most points scored in a debut in Celtics history.
In 38 minutes as a starter, Porzingis also ended his night with eight rebounds and four blocks while shooting 8-of-15 (53.3%) from the floor, 5-of-9 (55.6%) beyond the arc, and 9-of-10 (90%) at the foul line.
Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Boston Celtics are the odds-on favorites to win this season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are still showing great odds for the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets.
What a debut for Kristaps Porzingis:
– 30 points, the most in a Celtics debut
– 1st player in NBA history with 5 threes and 4 blocks in a team debut
– Held Knicks to 20% shooting (3-15 FG) when contesting a shot pic.twitter.com/WFtUR9TLW1
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 26, 2023
Porzingis, 28, made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:29 left in the fourth quarter. The 7-foot-3 big man opened up about his incredible performance against his original NBA team after the win.
“Honestly, it’s an awesome feeling to come back now being a Celtic and play here,” he said. “Even getting booed and getting all that, it’s still cool, I really like that and enjoyed that. But most importantly we won the game and very excited about what we have ahead of us.”
Zinger logged three 3-pointers and 15 points in the opening quarter.
Kristaps Porzingis sets record for highest-scoring Boston Celtics debut, with 30 points against the New York Knicks
Porzingis was selected No. 4 overall by the Knicks in the 2015 NBA Draft. Although he earned an All-Star selection in the 2017-18 season, the center was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in January 2019 while he was recovering from a torn ACL.
Porzingis has now developed into the player the Knicks had hoped, averaging a career-best 23.2 points last season for the Washington Wizards.
Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum finished his performance with 34 points and 11 rebounds. The three-time All-NBA member is already acknowledging Porzingis’ importance for Boston.
Kristaps Porzingis put up big numbers and secured the W in his @celtics debut 💪
🔥 30 PTS
🔥 5 3PM
🔥 8 REB
🔥 4 BLK pic.twitter.com/HBH4o2yh6o
— NBA (@NBA) October 26, 2023
“KP is hungry and excited to be here and knows how important he is to this team and what we need him to bring each and every night,” Tatum said.
According to Basketball-Reference, Porzingis is projected to average 24.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game this season. Plus, the seven-year veteran is expected to shoot 48.6% from the field and 36.6% from 3-point range.
With the Wizards in the 2022-23 season, the center averaged career highs of 23.2 points and 32.6 minutes per game. Not to mention, he shot a career-best 49.8% from the floor. His 62.7% true shooting percentage was also a career best.
The Celtics host the Miami Heat on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.