HomeViralDerrick White's Spectacular Brilliance Steals the Show in Incredible Victory against Pacers

Derrick White’s Spectacular Brilliance Steals the Show in Incredible Victory against Pacers

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Derrick White helped beat the Pacers with his brain.

The Boston Celtics don’t play in the Ivy League, but that doesn’t mean they lack smarts. In fact, they even have a “genius” in their bunch, according to Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla.

On Tuesday night, the Celtics took on the scrappy Indiana Pacers and prevailed 129-124. Although they dropped a season-high 81 points in the first half, it became a 3-point game with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter. Then, the “genius” of Celtics guard Derrick White struck.

After center Kristaps Porzingis turned the ball over on a crucial possession, Pacers shooter Buddy Hield got down the court in a hurry. Realizing the score was 127-124 in Boston’s favor and that the Celtics had a foul to give, White purposefully hacked Hield with 49.1 seconds left to stop Indiana’s transition offense.

“He’s a genius player,” Mazzulla said of White following the close win. “We’ve missed our foul-to-give call the last three times we’ve tried to use it, and credit to him for recognizing that and taking advantage of that. Genuis play.”

The Pacers love to catch opposing defenses off guard with their speed, as they average the second-most transition points (26.8) in the NBA. White knew that and halted Indiana’s fast break before a devastating bucket could come from the chaos.

As a result of his foul, the Pacers had to inbound the ball and develop some offense out of stagnancy. The best they could do was feed the hot hand, wing Aaron Nesmith. The ex-Celtic got a decent look in the corner, yet White erased the attempt with ease and left just 3.2 seconds on the shot clock. Indiana then committed a shot clock violation and went scoreless that possession, which essentially sealed the victory for the C’s.

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Even though White had zero points in the fourth quarter, his “genius” foul was an example of the winning plays he makes in crunch time. Celtics star Jaylen Brown noticed White’s timely performance as well, complimenting him and a few other Celtics for their work on Tuesday night.

“We’ve been able to step up in the fourth quarter in clutch moments,” Brown said. “D-White, Jrue, Porzingis … big-time players, so I think that’s made a world of difference.”

This isn’t a one-time thing for White either. On Monday night, he shook off a rough first half and caught fire in the fourth quarter, hitting three triples and scoring 13 points in the final 12 minutes. His 17 points for the game helped Boston overcome a 17-point deficit and defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 118-112.

As for Tuesday, the Colorado native finished with 24 points while shooting an efficient 50% from the field. Despite not shooting the deep ball as well of late, he pulled with no hesitation against Indiana, especially when he drained this distant triple as the shot clock expired in the third quarter:

When things aren’t going well for the Celtics X-factor, he doesn’t get stifled. Instead, he remains resilient, which Mazzulla loves.

For instance, in late December, the C’s were down 19 at halftime to the lowly Detroit Pistons. White had scored just two points and matched it with two turnovers in 13 minutes of play.

I just laughed with him and we both agreed it was probably the worst half he’s ever played in his career,” Mazzulla said of the rough start.

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In the second half, Boston roared back and sent the game to overtime. White notched 11 points in the second half and then followed it up with 10 points in overtime to seal the Celtics’ 128-122 victory.

“He just kept playing,” Mazzulla said. “Kinda laughed about it, didn’t change anything, and he went out and played a great second half. Guys like him, he has great poise, great stability. That’s probably the first time I’ve ever seen it just not go his way, and I really like how he responded.”

Like White, the Celtics as a whole have been able to roll with the punches this season. They’re a stellar 37-11 overall and a league-best 10-1 in games following a loss. If they can maintain this toughness throughout the season, they should be well-prepared for the 2023-24 playoffs.

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