Kristaps Porzingis thanks Celtics fans


“We have a lot more work to do.”

Kristaps Porzingis throws down a dunk in the first quarter of Game 1. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Kristaps Porzingis didn’t just make his return Thursday night – he did so with some serious thunder, pizzazz, and showmanship.

Porzingis, playing in his first game in 38 days due to a soleus strain, erupted for 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the Celtics’ 107-89 Game 1 triumph over the Mavericks.

He hit 8 of 13 shots, 2 of 4 3-pointers, and both free throws, electrifying the crowd in the first quarter and finishing plus-13 on the night.

It was easy to see how much joy the experience brought the Celtics big man, both during and after the game.

As of Saturday morning, it was clear the excitement still hadn’t worn off. Porzingis posted a photo of himself saluting the TD Garden crowd, with the caption: “Feels great to be back. Thankful for the support! We have a lot more work to do,” with a shamrock.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla has a decision heading into Game 2 on Sunday – whether to stick with veteran Al Horford in the starting lineup or pivot back to Porzingis.

Porzingis looked healthy and mobile on both ends, and has three days between games, so the decision will likely boil down to strategy more than availability.

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. The Celtics are 1-2 in Game 2s this postseason and 12-0 in all other games. The Mavericks are 3-0 in Game 2s and 9-6 in all other games.

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