In a Sunday matinee matchup, the Boston Celtics welcomed the Memphis Grizzlies TD Garden. Boston sought to sweep their homestand and win their fourth straight game, with Jaylen Brown (maxillary facial fracture), Malcolm Brogdon (right achilles soreness) and Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain) out of the starting lineup.
With Jayson Tatum struggling against a physical Grizz defense, Boston had multiple players step up with the team shorthanded. Derrick White continued to shine as his hot streak continues, leading all Celtics scorers with 23 points on 8-of-20 shooting, 4-of-9 from deep, three rebounds and 10 assists. White is shooting 39.3% from deep on the season, and over the last nine games, he’s shot 50.4% from the field and 46.8% from beyond the arc on almost 7 attempts per game.
Derrick White's last 9 games:— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) February 12, 2023
20.3 PPG (50.4 FG% / 46.8 3P% / 86.7 FT%)
5.0 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.0 BPG, 1.1 TOV pic.twitter.com/r4kzqQFMRq
“I’m just trying to tell myself just to have good energy,” said Derrick White in his postgame interview, “I feel like when I have good energy, whether they’re in or not, I’m able to do some good things out there. So, I just tell myself that before every game, just bring the energy and then make shots, miss shots, just make the right play.” White has been tasked with filling in however he can with Boston’s starting five battling injuries, and has gone above and beyond answering the call.
Derrick White on getting back into the game after a rough start:— Jack Simone (@JackSimoneNBA) February 12, 2023
"It was a rough start. Missing layups, airball, obviously. I was just really frustrated about the turnovers, too… JT talked to me after the timeout [and talked about the] law of averages."
“His ability to execute different pick-n-roll coverages for us,” said interim head coach Joe Mazzulla on what Derrick White did well against Memphis. “Did a great job on both (Ja) Morant and (Desmond) Bane. And when he’s the ball-handler, we can attack different matchups… He was well-rounded today.” Derrick White has been playing some of the best two-way basketball of his career, and he’s been one of Boston’s most important players.
White has also been Boston’s most durable player, and has played all 57 games of the Celtics season so far. He’s looked far more poised, in control, and significantly more confident after being acquired at last year’s NBA trade deadline.
This is the 2nd straight double-digit assist effort for Derrick White.— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) February 12, 2023
He entered this week with 4 such efforts in his career. pic.twitter.com/BFZT7O6HBn
Despite all the injuries, the Celtics have continued to persevere, to endure and survive all of the hurdles and pitfalls. Marcus Smart’s ankle sprain has loomed large for Boston’s offense, and after losing one of their primary playmakers, White has helped to fill the void, dishing double-digit assists in two straight games.
When we say Derrick White is on a new level pic.twitter.com/ucNcYYUysX— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) February 12, 2023
White has continued to elevate his game as the Celtics have needed, especially with two games separating them from a much-needed All-Star break. Even before Jaylen Brown’s facial fracture, the Celtics were already dealing with injuries and load management for Robert Williams, Al Horford, and Marcus Smart. After a year in Boston, Derrick White has found another gear to his game, and the Celtics cannot hesitate to lean on him these last two games before the break. Boston will face off against Milwaukee on the road Tuesday night, 7:30 pm EST.