On March 24, the Boston Celtics trampled over the Indiana Pacers, winning the contest by 25 points, with the final score being 120-95.
Throughout the game, it was clear that Derrick White was one of the best players on the floor – something that Celtics fans have become used to in recent months. When speaking during his post-game press conference, Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton spoke of the improvements he’s seen in White’s game.
“He’s grown a lot here,” Haliburton said. “He’s gotten a lot better. Early in my career playing (against) him in San Antonio, like offense is more open for more space to attack. He’s doing a good job within the free-throw line. Just a complimentary piece for those guys, for sure.”
White was clearly Boston’s third-best player throughout the game against Indiana, amassing 22 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block while shooting 41.2% from the field and 55.6% from three-point range.
Jayson Tatum Praises Derrick White’s Performance
Shortly after Boston’s latest win, Jayson Tatum addressed the media, where he answered a question regarding White’s performance, which led the All-Star wing to note how White is the ‘ultimate teammate.’
“Yeah, you know, D White is like the ultimate teammate,” Tatum said. “And he’s a hell of a basketball player…Can create, can pass, can shoot. And, you know, can be too unselfish sometimes. So just, you know, encouraging him to be aggressive, to be himself, just makes us a much better team.”
Tatum led the charge for the Celtics’ offense against the Pacers, finishing the game with 34 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals while shooting 54.2% from the field and 33.3% from deep in what was an encouraging performance at this late point in the season.
Jayson Tatum & Jaylen Brown Deserve Credit
According to Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, White’s growth this season is at least in part down to the additional spacing he’s afforded due to the presence of both Tatum and Jaylen Brown. In fairness, Mazzulla did note that Marcus Smart has also been the beneficiary of that spacing too, along with the majority of Boston’s secondary and tertiary offensive weapons.
“I think it goes to Jaylen and Jayson,” Mazzulla said. “When those two guys are finding the (Marcus) Smart‘s, the Derrick’s, the Al’s, for catch and shoot opportunities. It allows for them to be comfortable. And so I think it’s just a team-connected dynamic of we’re very cautious of our spacing and we’re very cautious of playing the right way. And I think everybody reaps the benefits from that, you know, like Smart’s only took three shots today, but his potential assists and what he did to get us in early offense is not on the stat sheet. And you know, when Derrick is that aggressive because of those things, we’re a different team.”