The Boston Celtics extended their win streak to six games on Saturday night, picking up a big-time win over the Charlotte Hornets. They earned a 122-106 win despite the fact that Jaylen Brown was out with an adductor strain. Jayson Tatum and Malcolm Brogdon led the way for Boston.
Unfortunately, the win was tainted by a scary moment early in the first quarter. After scoring a quick eight points, Derrick White ran into Marcus Smart, causing his head to jerk in one direction. He went down in a heap before walking off under his own willpower. White was ruled out for the rest of the game, and after the contest, head coach Joe Mazzulla provided an update.
“He’s good. I haven’t gotten a report back, but he’s okay,” Mazzulla told NBC Sports Boston. “I talked to him in the locker room. He’s doing better.”
The Celtics officially ruled him out due to a neck strain, but there have been no updates past that. However, with Mazzulla noting that he’s spoken with White and gotten good feedback, Celtics fans can likely rest easy that the guard hasn’t suffered a long-term issue.
While White had an early exit for the Celtics, his backcourt counterpart stepped up in a big way. Brogdon poured in a season-high 30 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists. He shot 11-of-17 from the field and 4-of-6 from behind the three-point line.
Simultaneously, Tatum led the way for Boston, dropping a game-high 33 points in addition to nine rebounds and six assists. He shot 12-of-27 from the floor and 4-of-14 from beyond the three-point arc.
Joe Mazzulla Sounds Off on Payton Pritchard
With Brown out due to an injury, extra responsibility was set to be placed on White, Brogdon, and Marcus Smart. And now that White could miss some time with his neck injury, the Celtics will depend on their depth more than ever.
One player who will be leaned on is Payton Pritchard, who could use the upcoming stretch as an opportunity to earn a regular spot in Boston’s lineup. He has not consistently been in the rotation this year, but after the Celtics’ recent win over the Brooklyn Nets, in which Pritchard scored nine points, head coach Joe Mazzulla praised his patience and professionalism.
“I said it before, as far as our depth, like, I trust those guys,” Mazzulla told CLNS Media. “And to have a great team, you got to have guys that have the humility to know when it’s their time to step up. And when it’s their time not to. For Payton, I’m really happy for him. He’s maintained a level of professionalism, preparation, and just toughness to just stay the course.”
Jayson Tatum Sends Message to Celtics
Boston has one of the most talented rosters in the league, but in order for them to be as good as they can be, players will have to make sacrifices. At least, that’s what Tatum believes.
“Everybody has to sacrifice to be on a great team,” Tatum told NBC Sports Boston. “We have individual guys that come off the bench that could start on the majority of other teams. We got guys that start that could average more on another team. But anybody will tell you how much fun and rewarding it was last year in the playoffs to keep advancing, keep winning, to make it to the finals. And, no individual stat or accolade can measure up to being on a winning team that’s having fun. There’s nothing better than that.”