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Saturday, April 20, 2024

The disconcerting absence of Derrick White down the stretch

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Within the Boston Celtics’ Saturday night time win over the Phoenix Suns, Derrick White dominated the primary quarter. The offense ran by him, and he completed the body with six factors, two rebounds, and 4 assists on 3-of-5 capturing.

By halftime, his factors whole was as much as 10 and he was an ideal 5-for-5 from contained in the three-point arc. He turned the ball over only one time and thru three quarters, he dished out eight assists.

By way of the primary half of Boston’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, White had tallied seven factors, 4 rebounds, and two assists on 3-of-6 capturing. Within the third, he added three extra dimes.

In opposition to the Cleveland Cavaliers, a sport the Celtics ought to have closed out, White put up three factors, six rebounds, and 7 assists on 1-of-4 capturing by the primary three quarters.

Within the three fourth quarters of these video games mixed, White totaled zero factors, three rebounds, and two assists on 0-for-2 capturing from the ground.

White’s latest capturing hunch has barely lessened his affect on offense, however his pick-n-roll sport has been some of the efficient strategies of scoring for the Celtics this season. But in three straight fourth quarters of NBA-defined “clutch” video games, Boston went away from him.

Why?

In opposition to the Suns, Jayson Tatum did a stable job of organizing issues on offense. And in opposition to the Nuggets, the Celtics did a variety of their scoring in transition whereas Denver was scrambling.

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However when it got here right down to crunch time – the true must-score minutes of the sport – why was White relegated to off-ball play?

For the ultimate 5 minutes of Boston’s loss to Denver, almost all of White’s touches got here in transition. He introduced the ball up the courtroom, gave it up, and have become a catch-and-shoot possibility on the perimeter.

In opposition to Cleveland and Phoenix, White was a bit extra concerned, nevertheless it got here nowhere near his early-game management in opposition to the Suns.

White’s chemistry with Luke Kornet, Kristaps Porzingis, and Tatum is unmatched, and once they play at his tempo, it virtually solely ends in lovely basketball.

Finish-of-game situations are far completely different from what’s happening within the first quarter. Defenses tighten up, the sport slows down, and defensive stress hits a brand new stage. However White has been some of the composed gamers on the crew all season.

Within the clutch this yr, White has shot 14-of-27 (51.9%) from the sphere and 10-of-21 (47.6%) from distance. He’s scored 48 factors, grabbed 16 rebounds, dished out eight assists, nabbed one steal, and blocked 5 photographs, all whereas committing only one turnover.

Does he get the advantage of groups pressuring Tatum, Porzingis, and Jaylen Brown? Completely. However Boston must be utilizing that to their benefit quite than utilizing him as a shooter.

Let White run the present extra typically. Clearly, Tatum, Brown, and Porzingis will nonetheless get their justifiable share of late-game touches, however utilizing them as decoys would permit White to thrive, and in flip, possibly the Celtics’ closing-time offense may look a bit extra in management.

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