Celtics could really use Porzingis

If truth be told, Celtics fans were not hoisting beers to toast a second-round triumph over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

A team charged with meeting the highest possible expectations beat a team that is barely on speaking terms with mediocrity. 

Had LeBron James been at the Garden, his water bottles and jug of wine tucked under his seat on the floor, the celebration would have had a sharper edge.

Just as they cleared their path of the Miami Heat, they brushed aside the Cavs. Neither foe deserved to avoid a sweep, if regular season records are a reliable guidepost.

But regular-season records are only good for settling playoff seedings.

So now the Celtics await the emergence of their opposition in the Eastern Conference finals. Without a doubt, oddsmakers will anoint the Celtics as a solid favorite against the Knicks or the Pacers.

There is, of course, a good-sized space separating solid and prohibitive when tracking favorites. In this case, the 7-foot, 2-inch median strip goes by the name Kristaps Porzingis.

Porzingis was relieved of active duty with a strained right calf muscle in Game 3 against Miami. HIs absence against the Heat and the Cavaliers elicited a groan or two among the fandom, but no serious bouts of angst.

Having observed Porzingis so far, his status as a frequent roundtrip flier to the injured list has long since been confirmed.

Pondering the odds, the Celtics should be in the NBA Finals.

As for the bottom line, the Celtics are in a decent spot to win their 18th championship. There is only one certainty:

Their chances are a lot better with Porzingis than without him.