Kristaps Porzingis can still be the missing puzzle piece to drive the Boston Celtics closer to Banner 18.

The Celtics took care of business thus far in the postseason, eliminating the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first two rounds. That came with Porzingis missing six games with a calf injury suffered in Game 4 against Miami. The Boston center stayed optimistic throughout his rehab process. Now, the Celtics’ plan for him entering the conference finals could be coming together.

Porzingis is not expected to play in the early games of the Eastern Conference finals beginning on Tuesday, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. With that being said, the Celtics center could still return later in the series.

Porzingis posted a pair of 18-point performances against Miami to start the postseason. The 28-year-old averaged over 20 points and seven rebounds per game during the regular season.

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Boston awaits the winner of the New York Knicks-Indiana Pacers series as their match in the Eastern Conference finals, which are set to begin on Tuesday. The Celtics push forward with the hopes of a fourth trip to the NBA Finals since 2008.

Porzingis looks to return as an impact scoring option and rim protector to support stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

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