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In the Celtics' 126-117 opening night win over the Sixers, the impact Boston's new sixth man, Malcolm Brogdon, had on the outcome stood out to Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers.

"I thought Brogdon was the most important player in the game tonight," declared Rivers. "Brogdon kept them alive. He hurt us with his right hand, dribble penetration. That was a frustrating thing to see."

In his first regular-season game as a Celtic, Brogdon registered 16 points, scoring ten in the paint, distributed four assists, and swiped two steals.

As highlighted in a preseason film study, the former Pacer consistently pushes the pace, gets into the paint, and creates high-quality scoring chances, whether for himself or a teammate.

In the play below from Brogdon's first shift on Tuesday, Jayson Tatum's drive draws two defenders, and Grant Williams screens Georges Niang, giving Blake Griffin an open look at a three. Instead, Griffin swings the ball to Brogdon in the near-side corner. James Harden, not known for his defense, closes out with a jump stop that leaves him unbalanced, putting too much weight on his front leg, and his momentum's taking him toward the corner.

Brogdon's move to fake going baseline, then drive middle, is instinctual, but Harden's unbalanced closeout leads to him chasing from behind. Seeing what's unfolding, Grant Williams seals Danuel House Jr., leaving Harden no help. All he can do is halfheartedly flail at the ball from behind as Brogdon knifes his way to the basket for a layup.

Brogdon scored six points in the first 1:30 of the second quarter. It started on a play where Al Horford screens House, which leaves him trailing Tatum as the latter comes up to obstruct Brogdon's defender, Melton, before breaking for the left slot.

As that happens, you can see House hesitate for a moment before realizing that leaving Boston's best player open for a three is the wrong course of action. And while Melton doesn't need help with Brogdon after the lack of contact on Tatum's screen, he still has to contend with a player averaging nearly 20 points per game the last three years.

When Brogdon comes off the pick from Tatum, he makes a beeline toward Horford, and when he gets to him, it brings Melton out of his stance, allowing Brogdon to create separation. He then elevates and knocks down a clean look at a fadeaway jumper.

Brogdon's veteran savvy was again on display on a sideline inbound, slapping away Melton's hand and slipping to the basket for a layup before anyone on the Sixers was ready to react.

At the start of the final frame, Brogdon again got the best of Melton, as the latter came to meet him as he brought the ball over half court. You can see Melton's right foot's angled towards the sideline, and Brogdon's in-and-out dribble gets him to open his hips. That gives Brogdon a path to the paint, where going towards Joel Embiid at a sharp angle gets the star center to refrain from contesting Brogdon's layup, sensing it likely results in a foul.

As stated earlier, Brogdon's assists also illustrate him consistently giving the Celtics what they need, pushing the pace to create high-quality scoring chances.

Circling back to his first shift, after Niang misses a three, Brogdon grabs the rebound and charges downhill, allowing Boston to play three-on-three in transition.

And while Melton impedes Brogdon's path to the rim, it doesn't lead to a turnover or him losing control. Instead, he makes a simple pass to Williams, left open on his cross-court cut to the left corner. On his closeout, Melton bites so hard on Williams' pump fake that he takes a seat on the TD Garden parquet as Williams drills a three from his corner office.

Brogdon also found Williams for a corner three in the third quarter on a play highlighting his ability to create when he's off the ball.

After a Harden layup, the Celtics maintain their up-tempo approach as Marcus Smart quickly brings the ball up the floor. Harden roaming to the play side means Tobias Harris has to zone two on the weak side to account for that.

While Harris should see that and respond accordingly, Harden going off script put him in a challenging position, where he risks giving up a baseline drive to Jaylen Brown without Embiid in to protect the rim.

With Harris remaining committed to Brown, when Smart breaks through the initial line of defense, an uncovered Brogdon cuts into the paint, draws the attention of three defenders, then delivers a kick-out pass to Williams for an open corner three.

Brogdon has quickly fit in seamlessly with the Celtics. And as he expressed, what's even more exciting is on the horizon.

"I'm definitely getting more comfortable. It's a day-by-day thing; I'm going to get more comfortable as the season progresses. You'll see me, day-to-day, game-by-game, just a little bit in (a) better rhythm every day."

Further Reading

Derrick White Discusses Keys to Celtics Success and Shuffling Between Starting and Second Unit

After Opening Night Win, Celtics Express Their Belief in Joe Mazzulla and His Collaborative Approach

The Top 5 Plays from Celtics-Sixers Opening Night Matchup

Here's What Stood Out in Celtics Opening Night Win vs. Sixers

Grant Williams on Not Getting a Contract Extension from Celtics: 'it doesn't mean that a deal won't get done in the future'

Robert Williams Undergoes PRP Injection That May Delay His Season Debut

Celtics and Grant Williams Unlikely to Agree to Contract Extension Before Regular Season, But Neither Side at Fault