Derrick White played a key role in helping the Boston Celtics defeat the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals on May 25, 2022. In Game 5, White posted a statline of 14 points, five assists, two steals, and a block in 29 minutes of action. White also shot six-of-eight from the field with his two misses coming from behind the arc.
White led the team in only one category in Game 5 (steals), but his teammates took notice of his impact on the floor. Al Horford in particular singled out White for his play on the floor in his postgame press conference (Warning: Horford’s mic had some feedback).
(Derrick White) for us was unbelievable tonight. He was great. His energy, his activity, (he’s) just such a smart player. (He) made really big plays. People probably won’t talk about it enough, but for me he was huge. The minutes that he gave us and the impact he had on this game.
In the 22 games they played together, White and Horford have a net rating of plus-17.5 when they share the court together, according to NBA.com. Their two-man net rating has only improved since the playoffs began, as the duo has a net rating of plus-21.9 when they’ve shared the court in the 13 games they’ve played together in the postseason.
Jaylen Brown Also Praised White for His Impact
Derrick White has left an impression on several of his teammates in some of Boston’s recent playoff games. Following White’s performance in Game 5, Jaylen Brown also spoke highly of White as well as Al Horford for what they bring to the team.
Derrick the last two games has been fantastic. His contributions to our team has been great. He might not get all the credit, but the way he started Game 4. The way he came out and was able to jump on them early, and then how he came out today again was huge. Derrick has been playing great these last two games. He’s been essential to being able to keep playing with that same type of aggression. He was just fantastic tonight. Poised, under control, made timely baskets. Al is old reliable. Al does what he’s been doing his whole career: stepping up in big moments, making timely shots, rebounding, being a defensive stopper for us, and also being that release valve. So, those two were definitely the story of the game tonight. They kept us in it defensively. When our offense wasn’t going, Al and Derrick, they had it going.
In the 20 games that Brown, Horford, and White all played together, their three-man lineup put up a net rating of plus-15.1 according to NBA.com. That has also vaulted up in the playoffs, as those three have put up a net rating of plus-20.7 in the 13 playoff games they’ve played together. These stats indicate that the Celtics’ best players play better when White and Horford are on the floor.
Twitter Reacts to White’s Impact on Game 5
It wasn’t only Celtics players who noticed what White has done for the Celtics. Those who follow the Celtics also singled out White
Dan Greenberg of Barstool Sports reprimanded those who initially criticized Boston for trading for Derrick White at the NBA Trade Deadline.
Alex Kungu specifically praised White for the defense he played on Miami’s shooters, particularly for well he was able to contain them while moving around on the floor.
Even those who don’t follow the Celtics exclusively, like Jackson Frank, shouted out White for how good he is and the role he plays in Boston’s title hopes.
Before joining the Celtics, White had been on only one other team that had made the conference finals – the 2017-18 San Antonio Spurs. He was a rookie that season, and he barely played for the Spurs both in the regular season and in the postseason. White’s only other playoff appearance came in his second season with San Antonio before being traded to Boston.
Now that he’s a rotation player on a team one win away from the NBA Finals, many are starting to take notice of what he can do.