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Celtics Legends Explain Kristaps Porzingis’ Biggest Impact

Celtics

“His presence is key to unlocking this offense and defense.”

Celtics Legends Explain Kristaps Porzingis’ Biggest Impact

Kristaps Porzingis’ return to the court will provide a major boost to the Celtics. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The Boston Celtics largely clawed their way to the 2024 NBA Finals without having to rely on Kristaps Porzingis.

Porzingis hasn’t played since Game 4 of Boston’s first-round series against the Heat due to a calf strain, with the Celtics going 9-1 in their last 10 games with their big man on the mend.

While the Celtics have successfully carved out a spot in the Eastern Conference without Porzingis, their biggest challenge remains as they aim to topple the Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

Speaking on the latest episode of the “Ticket & The Truth” podcast, Celtics legends Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett discussed Porzingis’ impact on the Celtics and the advantage his likely return to the court will give his team once the final begins on Thursday evening. .

Porzingis, who was a full participant in practice Saturday and is on track to return in time for Game 1 against Dallas, is not the primary scorer in Boston’s stacked starting five.

But the 7-foot-2 center’s ability to knock down 3-pointers, score in the paint, defend the rim and expand Boston’s offensive capabilities with his postgame play made him the missing piece. ‘a Celtics team that has few weaknesses when healthy.

“I think for him, the beauty of him is he doesn’t have to be the best player,” Pierce said of Porzingis. “Just his presence alone on the defensive end, with his size and his athleticism to block shots, his shooting ability. It’s a presence that makes this attack even more unlockable. … I know he’s not going to be 100 percent (healthy). His presence is essential to unlocking this offense and defense.

Porzingis’ current teammates echoed a similar sentiment about Porzingis’ ability to elevate Boston’s roster — his presence alone freeing up easier baskets for top scorers like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, while his defense keeps opposing players away from the paint.

“He does a great job of making it difficult for them and it’s always nice to know he’s back out there,” Derrick White said of Porzingis on Saturday. “Whether he blocks it or not, he makes them think. So, it’s been really great to have him around and do the things that he did day in and day out, so once he gets back and he’s in the flow of things, it’s going to be good .

Even though Porzingis was limited for more than a month while recovering from his calf injury, Garnett emphasized that the Celtics had the ability not to rush the big man’s return sooner than expected, while Boston’s extended time off to rest and practice before the NBA Finals. should also allow Porzingis to get back into the swing of things.

“Him on the court puts the Celtics on another level on both ends. … He was in two series,” Garnett said. “I’m pretty sure he’s taking pictures and he’s always in a rhythm.”

“It’s just going to be about its durability and how long you can keep it there.” But it’s a plus because look at the Celtics, they did all this without him. But now you get a piece like that back…it’s also the Celtics’ window here, for a period of three or four years.

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