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NBA Finals: Boston Celtics v Dallas Mavericks game one live on BBC

Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis celebrate next to an image of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving celebrating

In June last year, the Celtics made a bold, game-changing decision: trading away guard Marcus Smart in a three-team deal to get centre Porzingis from the Washington Wizards.

This unexpected move sent shockwaves through the fanbase. Smart was the heart of the team, he even dyed his hair green. It was a move that signalled Boston’s all-in approach to clinching the title.

Porzingis never clicked alongside superstar Luka Doncic during his time at Dallas, but his development since leaving in 2022 could come back to haunt them as he returns from injury after missing the play-offs so far.

The 28-year-old is dubbed ‘The Unicorn’ for his versatile skill set and shooting prowess, and could be the X-factor in this best-of-seven series.

Porzingis, because of his shooting, will force Dallas into having to defend the perimeter a lot more.

It’s a defensive scheme they haven’t frequently employed so far in the play-offs and his presence behind the arc will create space for stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to exploit, potentially stretching the Mavericks.

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Written by Joseph

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