This should have been the Celtics' year. After falling to the Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals, the Celtics maintained their momentum and secured the second seed in the East ahead of the 2023 playoffs. With the first-seed Bucks crashing out in five games, that should have been the trigger for the Celtics to take over. However, the team missed multiple opportunities to close out the Hawks in the first round. Once again, they took an early lead against the Sixers in the second round, but eventually needed seven games to overcome their fierce rivals.
Things got even worse in the Conference Finals. The Heat took over from Game 1 and now the Celtics find themselves in a 3-0 hole. Malcolm Brogdon has been a key contributor throughout the playoffs. Against Miami, he has had less of an impact but is still averaging 10.7 points and 77.8% free-throw shooting. But nothing the Celtics have done has been enough to overcome the Celtics. Now facing elimination, Brogden has spoken out.
Brogdon Puts Celtics On Blast
"I think it's teams that have a strong identity," Brogdon said on Monday ahead of Tuesday's Game 4. "I think Miami is one of the teams, one of the few teams in the league -- Miami, Denver, there are only a few of them -- that have a really strong identity, and they play by it every single night. They're super committed to it. And, for us, our identity has waned all year long. We've been trying to figure out who we are, because I think we're such a great, talented scoring team, but when we don't make shots, we got to rely on our defense, and our defense isn't consistent every night. So, playing a team that's very consistent and disciplined, we struggle."
He continued. "We haven't been consistently great defensively all year long, and that was the team's identity last year," Brogdon said. "I think that's slipped away from us. We've had spurts where we've been great defensively, but not consistently. And, honestly, we've struggled in every series we've played. So, now we're playing a team that's playing as if they're the best team in the league, and they're just incredibly disciplined, incredibly consistent. And I think we've struggled with teams that are consistent on a possession-by-possession basis every night."