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Tomase: Want to see Brogdon dominate crunch time? Watch this old game vs. C's

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Malcolm Brogdon watched the NBA Finals and saw the Celtics struggle to run an offense against the increased defensive intensity of the Warriors. He thinks he can help.

"If I came in there, I could give them a steady presence and a calm as a ballhandler and facilitator, getting guys like (Jaylen) Brown and (Jayson) Tatum easy shots," he told The Athletic.  "Just slowing the game down in those moments when we need to get a good shot."

If the Celtics want to see examples of Brogdon bringing composure to crunch time, they don't have far to look. They can just dig into their own archives.

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Take, for instance, a 122-117 loss to the Pacers in December of 2019. Celtics fans might remember that game as Kemba Walker's first 40-point explosion in green. Walker went off for 44, but the Celtics blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead.

Leading the charge, particularly in the closing minutes, was Brogdon. He scored or assisted on 18 of Indiana's final 20 points, the lone exception a perfect pass out of a double team that wasn't scored an assist to Domantas Sabonis, but easily could've been.


He made all 15 of his free throws, including six in the final 17 seconds to seal the victory. Taking a quick run through some of his pivotal plays highlights exactly the skillset that Brogdon believes he'll be bringing to Boston.

Let's start with the go-ahead basket. Brogdon ignores a pick from Sabonis to blow past Walker, forcing help from Jayson Tatum. Brogdon draws the defender and kicks out to Aaron Holiday for the corner 3, with Walker a step slow to rotate. It goes without saying that Walker had his limitations, and the Celtics weren't playing playoff-intensity defense, but Brogdon decisively drove and kicked to create the opportunity.

Speaking of decisive, he wastes no time attacking Brown early in the shot clock after the Celtics tie the game at 107. One of the frustrations of the Finals was watching the Celtics burn 12 seconds just getting into their offense. Brogdon crosses halfcourt in attack mode, however, and with Walker and Daniel Theis providing nominal rim protection, scores in traffic. Notice how his size allows him to shrug off contact. His physicality fits the Celtics' identity.

Shortly thereafter, another drive and kick to the corner, this one to Justin Holiday. Matched up with the more rugged Semi Ojeleye, Brogdon beats him off the dribble and then exploits slow rotations, with Walker needlessly leaving Holiday in the corner and Brad Wanamaker getting caught in no-man's land.

Finally, there's the play that should look most familiar to Celtics fans, since their inability to handle it basically decided the Finals. Chastened by Brogdon's impact on the final four minutes -- he's saved 12 of his 29 points for crunch time, all but two of them from the free throw line -- the Celtics hit him with a trap before he can get downhill. Brogdon calmly steps away from Walker and Daniel Theis to deliver a bounce pass to Sabonis, who attacks Wanamaker in the mismatch before scoring in the paint.

In a little over four minutes of a two-point game, Brogdon will score 12 points, assist on six others, and beat the double team that leads to Indiana's final basket. He'll make all six of his free throws in the final 17 seconds, a performance befitting an 88 percent career shooter from the stripe, which should help address another area of inconsistency this postseason.

That's called composure, and even accepting that December in Indiana doesn't feature the same intensity as Golden State in June, the Celtics at least already know how Brogdon can impact a game's decisive moments.