Boston Celtics

Why Porzingis could be crucial to Celtics' success in NBA Finals

Scalabrine breaks down the role Porzingis could have vs. the Mavericks.

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The Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks will square off in the 2024 NBA Finals beginning Thursday, and the amount of star power on both rosters is immense. But which player will be the most important to the Celtics' chances of victory?

You might be surprised by NBC Sports Boston analyst Brian Scalabrine's answer. It's not Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, it's Kristaps Porzingis.

Porzingis reportedly is expected to return to the Celtics lineup for Game 1 of the Finals at TD Garden. He has missed Boston's last 10 playoff games due to a right calf strain suffered April 29.

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In the video above, Scalabrine breaks down film from the Celtics' win over the Mavs on March 1 in Boston when Porzingis was able to hit a couple 3-pointers early in the game. Scalabrine wants the Celtics to attack Mavs guards Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving on offense, which will force Dallas' centers to help defensively and leave Porzingis open on the perimeter for 3-point shots.

Porzingis' ability to stretch the floor as a threat from 3-point range (37.5 percent during the regular season) is a huge part of the Celtics' offense, and they should find ways to use him in that role throughout the Finals.

Check out the full breakdown from Scalabrine in the video player above.

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