Malcolm Brogdon’s Half-Court Heave Leaves Mark In Celtics Playoff Win

It was a calculated move by Brogdon


Apr 19, 2023

The Atlanta Hawks felt good early on in Game 2 of their first-round playoff matchup against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

The Hawks built an 11-point lead in the opening frame, showing the urgency needed as they looked to pull even in the best-of-seven series. And despite the lead being short-lived due to a 13-0 Celtics run, the Hawks were still in good position to go end the first stanza at least tied with Boston.

Or so they thought.

Hawks star point guard Trae Young got blocked by Derrick White on a driving attempt with three seconds left in the first quarter, leading to a game-altering play from Malcolm Brogdon.

The ball from White’s block went directly to Brogdon, who raced the other way with very time little time left. As he neared mid-court, though, and with 1.4 ticks still left on the clock, Brogdon slowed his pace down. It was a calculated move by the veteran guard. He then went into a half-court shot off the wrong foot and watched it sail off the backboard and through the net to give the Celtics a 28-25 lead.

“Man, just slow down,” Brogdon told reporters of the play, as seen on NBC Sports Boston postgame coverage. “Derrick (White) told me when I got to the locker room that I had another second or two. But I told him, ‘I can either take another dribble and shoot a rushed shot or really take my time.’ I pulled up because I thought he wasn’t going to stop me and luckily it went in.”

Brogdon’s bucket ended up being a backbreaker for the Hawks. After a terrific start, the Hawks never led again — or were even tied — following Brogdon’s half-court heave and trailed by as much as 20 points in the second half.

While Hawks head coach Quin Synder believed his team responded to that 3-pointer from Brogdon, who finished with 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds off the bench, he couldn’t deny the momentum it took away from Atlanta as it propelled the Celtics to a second straight playoff win.

“That’s tough,” Snyder told reporters, per league-provided video. “Sometimes those things… can deflate you a little bit, but I think more than anything, I really felt like we were playing really good basketball, and kind of lost it a little bit. And then that shot, obviously was impactful. But we had (three) more quarters to play, too. So, we needed to put that behind us and I think we did.”

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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