Why This Celtics Bench Player Could Be X-Factor In NBA Finals

When the Celtics take the court in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, all eyes will be on Kristaps Porzingis and what type of impact he will have in the series.

NESN’s Ountae Campbell, on the “Hold My Banner” podcast Wednesday, explained how fans can expect Porzingis to progress through the series.

“Game 1, he probably won’t look like himself,” Campbell explained. “Game 2, we’ll see more of the Kristaps Porzingis that we know. Game 3 … he’ll be himself. No question about that. He’ll be ready to play, especially going to Dallas. He’ll know where he needs to get his wind p. He’ll already have gotten the jitters and the excitement and just that ultimate burst of energy out in the first two games. Game 3 is when I really expect him to show up.”

Even with Porzingis ready to suit up for Game 1, Campbell explained while the Celtics’ big man is important to the team’s success, there’s one bench player he believes to be just as much if not more important.

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“The real important guy is Xavier Tillman,” Campbell said. “Like dude, ‘you have to show up and bang.’ Porzingis is not going to be able to do it for a full game. Neither is (Al) Horford. At his age, he’s not going to be able to bang for a whole game.”

Campbell continued: “So, you need that third guy who’s going to come in to run around with the young guys; who’s played against Dallas. He has a little bit of chirping against Dallas when he was back there with Memphis with Kyrie (Irving). … So, he has a little bit of chirping and edge against Kyrie. Hopefully, he comes in ready to play, hard hat on and ready to take on the challenge that is the Dallas Mavericks bigs.”

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