Derrick White gave the Boston Celtics a gigantic boost off the bench during their Game 1 win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. Known more for his defense than his shooting, White scored 21 points and connected on five of his eight attempts from behind the three-point line, with two of those makes coming during the relentless fourth quarter that the Celtics rode to their 120-108 win.
In the aftermath of the game, Draymond Green stressed the the assembled media that he thinks Golden State will be fine. He laid out part of why he thinks that, and he specifically pointed out White’s outlier of a shooting performance.
Draymond on Derrick White in Game 1: pic.twitter.com/OOwG73svBM
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“Derrick White hadn’t shot the ball from three … extremely well throughout the playoffs, nor historically over his career,” Green said. “What we do know is that he’s capable, and obviously, the world knows he’s capable since watching the game last night. We been knew he was capable, but some of the threes he hit last night, like, the rim just had him. I think three of the five threes that he made was like right over people right in his face. When things like that happen, you have to live with that. At the end of the day, something has to beat you, and you’re going to pick, in an NBA game, what is more likely to not beat you.”
While it can seem like a knock against White, it’s hardly uncommon for NBA teams to hyper focus on slowing down the best players and accepting that other guys might just beat them — a great example of this is Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals when the Milwaukee Bucks let Grant Williams take wide open three after wide open three, and he responded by going 7-for-18 for a career high 27 points. Despite the fact that White is 11-for-18 (a ridiculous 61.1 percent) from three over his last three playoff games, he’s a career 34 percent shooter from deep and has gone through lulls in his NBA tenure.
All of this is to say we can probably assume that Golden State will make a similar bet that White won’t hit shots at that rate again in Game 2. If they’re wrong, the Celtics taking a 2-0 series lead to Boston seems likely.