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Kristaps Porzingis believes he’ll be back in Celtics’ lineup soon

Boston MA 11/13/23 14celtics. Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis (8) against the New York Knicks during third quarter NBA action at TD Garden. Photo by Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis said Tuesday that his recovery from a calf strain is going smoothly and that he hopes to return to the court soon.

“I have not had anything like calf-related, honestly, so this is new for me,” Porzingis said. “I guess you have to be a little careful with these kinds of things, even though it’s nothing serious, but still, it can be pretty easy I guess to reaggravate, and so the medical staff is being cautious and we’re going to take it slow. But even with taking it slow, it should be a pretty quick recovery.”

Porzingis suffered the injury during last Friday’s loss to the Magic. He said that even though he initially stayed in the game, he could tell that something was off.

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Coach Joe Mazzulla said Porzingis would be reevaluated a week after the injury, and that time is fast approaching.

“This is the NBA,” Porzingis said. “You play every other day and some small things can happen like this. So, no big worries, but just looking forward to getting back out there as soon as possible.”

Kristaps Porzingis missed his second straight game on Tuesday.Danielle Parhizkaran/Globe Staff

Celtics point guard Jrue Holiday, who missed Sunday’s win over the Hawks because of a sprained ankle, returned to face the Bulls on Tuesday.

“He took a couple of days off, got treatment, and yesterday or the day before got on the court to see how it was and saw how he was able to respond from that,” Mazzulla said. “He did a workout yesterday and went through shootaround today.”

Tourney implications

For the Celtics, there was extra incentive to try to defeat the Bulls by a substantial margin. If the Nets defeated the Raptors, which they did, 115-103, creating a three-way tie in Group C of the In-Season Tournament, the Celtics needed to defeating the Bulls by 23 points or more to win the group in a tiebreaker.

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There were also some other potential tiebreakers involving the conference’s wild-card slot, but all involved Boston toppling Chicago by a lot, which it did, 124-97, raising questions about the potential lack of sportsmanship involved in such a pursuit.

“I don’t know how that necessarily plays out or how the league views that,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “But generally this sportsmanship part of it is when the game is over the team holds it and takes a shot-clock violation and the next team takes a shot-clock violation or lets the clock run out. So, it’s probably something the league probably has to look at.”

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan had questions about the sportsmanship at stake with the In-Season Tournament's point differential tiebreaker.Steven Senne/Associated Press

The Celtics’ tournament chances were diminished by their 17-point loss to the Magic on Friday. Forward Al Horford, for one, said that the league’s schedule-makers did the Celtics no favors by giving them a day game after Thanksgiving.

“I just wish that moving forward, when they do this, they have to make sure that for everybody to be at their best, that somehow the games are being aligned correctly, so it’s not a back to back or it’s not a game that’s kind of like the Orlando situation, because I feel like that does matter,” he said. “It affects the performance and if we want to get the most out of the guys in the In-Season Tournament, you want to make sure they’re at their best.”

Hero honored

The Celtics honored Auburn, Maine, native Tom Giberti, who helped children flee from a bowling alley during the Oct. 25 Lewiston shooting that left 18 people dead.

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When Robert Card opened fire in the Just-In-Time Recreation, Giberti, a manager at the facility, got the attention of a group of children who were hunkered down nearby and signaled them to run toward him. When the group rushed to the exit, Giberti, 69, was shot several times in the legs. He was hospitalized for several days.

Giberti stood at midcourt during a timeout in the second quarter of Tuesday night’s game and received a standing ovation as his story was told to the TD Garden crowd. The Celtics are planning to honor several heroes from the Lewiston tragedy over the next few weeks as part of their “Heroes Among Us” initiative.


Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him @adamhimmelsbach.