Friday, March 10, 2023

Derrick White comes up big again in Celtics win over Trail Blazers

The Celtics snapped a three-game skid Wednesday night in a 115-93 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

While Jayson Tatum was the team's leading scorer with 30 points, it was Derrick White who came up big once again as he has done all season on both ends of the floor. The veteran guard started in the backcourt with along with Marcus Smart -- as the team played without Robert Williams -- to finish with 21 points (8-of-12 from the field), five rebounds and seven assists in 37 minutes of action.

Following the victory, White was asked about his thoughts on not always playing down the stretch to close games out, especially as the roster begins to get healthy.
"I mean, I'm playing basketball," White said in his postgame comments. "I'm blessed. So, I'm really trying just to have the right perspective on things. But just understand that it's a team game. There'll be times when I'm going to need to close. There's going to be times when Malcolm, Smart -- I mean, it's hard to take them out of the game as well. So, anytime I'm out there, I'm just trying to do things to help us win the game. And even if I'm off the court, just be a good teammate and trust that the people out there are going to help us win."
While both Smart and Brogdon having dealt with being in and out of the lineup this season, White is the only player on the roster that has played all of the Celtics' 67 games so far -- with averages of 12.0 points (45.7% shooting from the field), 3.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists per contest.

When Smart missed a month with an ankle injury earlier in the year, White's numbers jumped to 20.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 11 games -- to which the Celtics were 6-5 during that span -- even earning him Player of the Week honors just prior to the All-Star break.

With Robert Williams out for the time being and Grant Williams getting his minutes cut recently, look for Joe Mazzulla to most likely keep White in the starting lineup along with Smart, Jaylen Brown, Tatum and Al Horford as the Celtics begin their six-game road trip come Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks.

At 46-21, the Celtics are currently 2.5 games behind the East leading Milwaukee Bucks (48-18), who they'll face one more time next month, with the winner owning the tiebreaker (in case both teams finish with identical records) -- as the season series is tied 1-1.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of USA Today

No comments:

Post a Comment