Watch CBS News

Derrick White continues to do incredible things for the Boston Celtics

BOSTON -- It may seem impossible, but Derrick White continues to get better and better for the Boston Celtics. The humble yet dominant Boston guard put on another show in the Celtics' 120-95 win to tip off their second round series against the Cavaliers, and joined some elite shooters in NBA history in the process.

White scored 25 points for the Celtics, and continued his torrid stretch from downtown. He knocked down seven of his 12 three-pointers in the victory, which had Celtics fans chanting his name as Boston's lead grew in the second half.

"It was awesome," White said of the chants. "Shoutout to the fans always. I'm thankful, and I'm grateful for them, always."  

Fans are grateful for White, too, and the heater he's been on over the last three games. White has scored 88 points to lead Boston over that span (Jaylen Brown is next with 74 points) and he's done so by shooting a blistering 54 percent from downtown, hitting 20 of his 37 bids from deep.

With those 20 threes over his last three games, White became just the fifth player in NBA history with that many threes over a three-game span. (Thank you to Celtics stats guru Dick Lipe.) The others are Stephen Curry, Jamal Murray, Klay Thompson, and Damian Lillard. 

Not a bad group to be mentioned in. But that's not the only good company White is associating himself with these days.

White leads the NBA with 28 made threes this postseason, and only Lillard made more threes per game than the 4.7 White has knocked down during the playoffs. (Dame's playoff run came to an end in the first round.) Those 28 triples over Boston's first six playoff games are the most in franchise history, breaking the previous high mark set by Ray Allen.

Are there any Reggie Miller records for White to break this postseason? I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.

White is shooting 57.5 percent overall for the playoffs, and 50 percent from downtown. Only Miami's Delon Wright (60 percent) and Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns (53.4 percent) are shooting better from long distance, but both are taking fewer than five threes per game. Wright has only taken 1.5 threes per game in the playoffs, while White is throwing up 9.3 attempts.

He was a big part of the Celtics pulling away in the second half Tuesday night, scoring 14 points while canning four of his threes in the third quarter. White's best shot of the night came off a filthy stepback where he ruined Sam Merrill's sneakers, giving the Celtics an 87-72 edge with two minutes to play in the frame.

White even took an uncharacteristic heat check after that three, which clanged off the back of the rim. But he had done enough to that point for fans to fire off more "Derr-ick Whiiiiittteeeee" chants as the two teams walked off the floor for a timeout.

Those chants are more than warranted. White is up to 22.8 points per game this postseason, ranking second on the Celtics. And that doesn't even account for his defensive impact, forming a stingy and suffocating backcourt along with Jrue Holiday.

"He's the kind of guy that can impact the game differently every night," Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla said of White after Tuesday night's win. "Whatever the game calls for, he is willing to do, and he has done that. We need him to continue to do that." 

This is nothing new for the Celtics or Celtics fans, who have watched Derrick White rise from a savvy role player into one of the team's top contributors since he arrived from San Antonio just over two years ago. And though White is as humble as ever despite flirting with superstardom, his teammates are promising even more from the 29-year-old. 

"Derrick White has grown," Brown said Tuesday. "This is a new version that we haven't seen before. He put the work in. His body has developed a little bit. He's got some more playoff experience, and he's being aggressive. And we urge him to do that. We're going to need that more and more down the line."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.