If teams can't find answer to Boston Celtics' top big man, Banner 18 is inevitable: Analyst

Apr 21, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) shoots the ball over
Apr 21, 2024; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) shoots the ball over / Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Kristaps Porzingis's domination of the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals was so thorough that CBS Sports' Sam Quinn is convinced that the only thing stopping the Boston Celtics from raising Banner 18 this year would be a team coming up with a way to slow down the Latvian center.

Quinn said as much after Porzingis was able to neutralize Bam Adebayo's defensive presence in Game 1, shooting 4/8 from the 3-point line as the Heat big man was forced to pay attention to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown's (and Derrick White's) rim runs elsewhere.

"Boston acquired him largely because of its offensive woes against Miami, specifically," Quinn prefaced before saying, "The idea was that a 7-foot-2 three-level scorer would not only increase the space for everyone else to work with, but would also lead to easy buckets for Porzingis himself simply because nobody is big enough to contest him at that size. Bam Adebayo, Miami's star defensive big man, is only 6-9.

"Porzingis delivered proof of concept in Game 1. He made four of his eight 3-point attempts in the win, and in the process, helped get the Celtics rolling on their way to a team playoff-record 22 made 3-pointers. As predicted, Adebayo just wasn't much of a deterrent to Porzingis from deep, and his height poses problems against just about anyone. Put your center on Porzingis and suddenly your primary rim-protector is away from the rim. Put a smaller player on him and he has a mismatch to attack. If there is a good answer to that problem, Miami didn't find it in Game 1. If nobody does this postseason, the Celtics will probably be champions in June."

Kristaps Porzingis having his way offensively could be main ingredient to Boston Celtics beating Nuggets

Most Celtics fans fear one team in the postseason, and with good reason: the defending NBA Champion Denver Nuggets, who ran out to a commanding 2-0 lead on the Los Angeles Lakers and don't seem to have a peer in the west. While the Cs could face challenges from a plucky New York Knicks team that's putting on a clinic in their own first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, and Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo cannot be denied as a legitimate threat with the Milwaukee Bucks, the east just doesn't scare Celtics fans.

Nikola Jokic playing the best basketball short of...possibly no one ever, though? That's a challenge that Boston may not have an answer to on the defensive side of the ball. It goes without saying: the Cs would need to outscore the Nuggets in a series to win a championship.

Luckily, Porzingis is the ace in the hole that makes beating Denver possible. Because what the Nuggets do not have is the personnel to stop Porzingis; and that includes Jokic himself.

Porzingis really is the key to Banner 18, and that cannot be stressed enough.