Saturday, October 28, 2023

Celtics 119, Heat 111: Derrick White's fourth quarter explosion key in C's home opener

The Celtics toppled the Miami Heat by a score of 119-111 in a back and forth battle home opener at TD Garden on Friday night.

While Heat star forward Jimmy Butler (14 points on 3-of-11 shots) was held in check during much of the contest, Miami got a lift from center Bam Adebayo and guard Tyler Herro to keep it close.

Herro, who started the game off hot with 12-first quarter points, ended with a total 28 on 10-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-12 from 3, while adding six rebounds and six assists. Adebayo, mostly unbothered by Kristaps Porzingis' length, had 27 points on 10-of-23 from the field to go along with seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.

Jaylen Brown had a bounce back performance from his offensive struggles in Boston's season opener against the New York Knicks, pouring in 27 points on 11-of-22 from the floor and six rebounds. Porzingis was a little quieter from his Celtic debut, as he was in foul trouble throughout the majority of the game and only logged 30 minutes as a result. All five Boston starters scored in double figures, but it was Derrick White leading the way with 28 points (9-of-15), along with six rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.
"I think his confidence level just continues to rise," Jayson Tatum, who finished with 22 points, said in his postgame presser of White's performance. "I've been an advocate for D White since he joined the team two years ago. I always try to tell him to be more aggressive. When he's at his best and he's being aggressive, I think we're just a much better team."
Jrue Holiday (10 rebounds, seven assists) and Porzingis (nine rebounds) each netted 17 points respectively for only their second game in a C's uniform.

The Heat led by as many as 13 points to open up the first quarter, which was their biggest lead of the game, but a 12-2 run by Boston to end the period kept them within striking distance for the rest of the night. Miami had a one point advantage heading into the final frame, but that was all but erased by a personal 9-2 run by White to open the fourth. White, who scored 14 of his 28 points in the last 12 minutes, also had a key block on a Butler fast break with 3:47 left in the game and a 109-102 lead. Boston outscored Miami 52-36 in the paint as well as 14 second chance points in the first half.
"The plays he made tonight were sick. They were just sick plays," Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said of White. "It's the only way you can describe it." 

Mazzulla also liked what he saw out of his team's effort on both ends in just the second game to start the 2023-24 campaign. 

"When your two best players compete at a high level defensively it sets the tone. Tonight we were intentional," he said. "We attacked the right matchups. We got to our spots. ... We still didn't play great fourth-quarter basketball. But for game two of what we're trying to get to, it was a good start."
The Celtics will look to continue their winning ways when they face the Washington Wizards (0-1) on the road Monday night at 7:00 pm ET.

Game Notes:

Boston hit 47.4% from the floor, including 16-of-39 (47.4%) from behind the arc, while the Heat were 42.7% from the field and 16-of-33 (48.5%) from 3-point territory. The Celtics out-rebounded Miami 55-45 and 16-11 on the offensive glass. The C's dished out 20 assists (15 turnovers) on 45 made shots to the visiting team's 24 dimes (12 turnovers) on 38 baskets.

Eli Weisberger

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images


  1. Great writing, really looking forward to your next piece

  2. Great story and re-cap! Thanks for the insights.