Malcolm Brogdon confirmed Monday after the Boston Celtics’ Game 7 loss in the Eastern Conference finals the reports from earlier in the series were accurate. He had been dealing with a partial tear of a tendon in his arm at the worst possible time.
“Unfortunately, you use it a lot to shoot,” Brogdon told reporters after Boston’s 103-84 season-ending loss to the Miami Heat at TD Garden, per ASAP Sports. “So, when I’m shooting, I’m having a lot of pain.”
With that said, why did Brogdon even step on the floor in the winner-take-all contest? It’s a fair second guess.
The NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year had not been the same since he suffered the injury in Game 1 of the conference finals. He was on the bench in street clothes when the Green went into South Beach and pulled out a Game 6 win on Derrick White’s buzzer-beater. That clearly was the right decision at the time, and probably should have been the decision Monday night, as well.
Because while Brogdon didn’t play an overwhelming amount of minutes in Game 7 (he only played seven), the injury-hindered guard was a liability. He went 0-for-3 from the field, missing a layup in the paint and a 3-pointer by a foot.
He entered the game with 5:46 left in the first quarter and the Celtics leading 9-6. Brogdon blocked Bam Adebayo on his first defensive possession but struggled from there. He was on the floor as Miami outscored Boston by 10 over the final 5:46 of the period and was minus-15 in seven minutes. He exited the game with 10:41 left in the second quarter as the Heat stretched their lead to 27-15. He didn’t return as Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla rightfully pulled him out of the rotation.
Is that to say Brogdon was the reason behind Boston’s season-ending loss? Of course not. The Celtics struggled to get stops during much of the contest and shot 21% from long range, all while Jaylen Brown played terrible and Jayson Tatum rolled his ankle on the first possession of the game. There were a lot of factors that led to the underwhelming result for Boston.
But Brogdon’s insertion into the lineup, despite the fact he was dealing with an injury that has him considering surgery, well, it didn’t help the Celtics. Who knows if the Heat would have had the same success in those first-half minutes if he wasn’t on the floor. However, there’s no debating those minutes surely went a long way in the Heat claiming a Game 7 win.