Getty Images

The Boston Celtics announced that Kristaps Porzingis is out for Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night after suffering a "torn medial retinaculum, allowing dislocation of the posterior tibialis tendon" in his left leg during Game 2. 

That's a lot of medical jargon, and the link above tells you what you need to know about what is apparently an extremely rare injury, but for the purposes of this post, we're going to keep it to basketball. 

Game 3 is a must-win for the Mavs as no team in history has recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA playoff series, let alone the Finals, and here are three ways Porzingis' absence could be the break Dallas needs to get back in this series. 

1. Rim protection

Porzingis is a different rim-protecting animal that Al Horford. For starters, he's five inches taller at 7-foot-2 and that makes a big difference as a deterrent. Porzingis has already blocked five shots in this series and altered more than that. This one on Josh Green in the open floor was ridiculous.

Here's another fantastic block in transition on Daniel Gafford, and again, the good news is this play came after Porzingis came up lame with the calf injury and was able to stay in the game. 

That Porzingis stayed in the game for six more minutes after the injury and was able to make plays like this (he also stayed with Luka Doncic on a baseline drive and held up against a dancing Kyrie Irving in space) is an encouraging sign that the injury might not be as bad as Boston's worst fears. 

But if it is, or even if he just needs a game off, Boston will miss his rim protection mightily. In the Finals, the Mavericks are converting just 36.4% of their shots at the rim against Porzingis (4 for 11), by far the stingiest mark of any single defender in the series. 

2. Shooting

Porzingis has only made two 3-pointers in the series and didn't make any in Game 2, but the threat of his shot well beyond 25 feet stretches Boston's spacing to virtually indefensible lengths. Also, the 3s are not the shot Porzingis is killing Dallas with; it's the high-post/elbow face-up jumpers. 

Here het gets Derrick Jones Jr. and Josh Green:

And Green again:

And Jaden Hardy:

And Kyrie Irving:

Through the first two games of this series, Porzingis has made 7 of 9 shots from 8-16 feet (5 of 6 from the midrange) and 10 of his 17 overall jump shots. He's not getting super deep post-ups, but this is a luxury scoring option for the Celtics whenever anything stalls out to finagle a switch and go to Porzingis at the high post and just let him shoot over the top. It has killed the Mavericks so far, and they are surely happy to not have to deal with it in Game 3. 

3. Non-Horford minutes

Through the first two games, the Celtics have had either Al Horford or Porzingis on the floor for every meaningful minute. Horford has been terrific, particularly defensively, being able to go all out knowing Boston hasn't needed him to play more than 30 minutes. 

If Porzingis is out, Horford's minutes probably go up, which then calls into question his ability to hold up from a conditioning standpoint at 38 years old. The more tired he is, the more Dallas will hunt him on the perimeter with switches. He has held up incredibly well in these situations so far, stoning both Luka and Kyrie in one-on-one situations. 

But Horford can't play 48 minutes. So who gets the non-Horford minutes? Does Joe Mazzulla dust off Luke Kornet? If so, that's a shooter the Mavericks can totally disregard defensively, which would allow them to load up more on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, both of whom have been killing Dallas by getting past their initial defenders and into the paint. 

Offensively, Kornet is a much more vulnerable defender than Horford or Porzingis. He'll play drop coverage on pick-and-rolls to avoid switching and Luka Doncic can get downhill or pull up for 3 if the Celtics are not perfect in fighting over the screen. 

Mazzulla could also skip past Kornet and go small for the non-Horford minutes with Tatum at center and Sam Hauser off the bench with Derrick White, Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown, who can sub out early to come back in when Horford exits. 

If the Celtics do this, everyone's minutes go up a little bit. How does that effect them in the fourth quarter? And can Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving finally start doing some damage at the rim without a shot blocker in there? We'll see, but it's an opportunity at least.