Celtics Suffer Huge Blow Ahead of Game Two

Derrick White, Boston Celtics

Getty Derrick White, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics availability merry-go-round continues to spin as the team has announced that Derrick White will be out of tonight’s game due to personal reasons. 

The Celtics were without Marcus Smart and Al Horford for game one, as they fell to a 118-107 loss courtesy of a third-quarter collapse that saw the team score just four points from open play.

Early indications are that Smart will return to the team’s rotation for game two. Still, now that White has been ruled out of the game, the Celtics will continue to be short-handed at the guard position, forcing Udoka to go deeper into his bench for able bodies.

Luckily, Kyle Lowry remains out for the Miami Heat according to their injury report, which will ensure the Celtics aren’t at a huge disadvantage in the guard department. Still, the team’s injury issues have arisen at the worst possible time as they chase a spot in the NBA Finals, and another loss to the Heat will pile the pressure on Boston heading into games three and four.

White Expecting Birth of Child

Back in November, White announced that he and his wife were expecting a child, and while it hasn’t been officially confirmed, it would seem that the veteran guard is traveling back to Boston to be present for the birth – multiple members of the NBA media have begun to report that this is the most likely reason for his sudden absence form the team.

“Derrick White is out tonight due to personal reasons. Unsure what that is, but he announced that his wife was expecting back in November, so the math checks out,” John Karalis of Boston Sports Journal Tweeted
Luckily, the Celtics can call on Payton Pritchard to fulfill the point guard role. The second-year guard has been on fire in recent games. However, the Heat took it upon themselves to target the diminutive guard on the defensive end in the opening game of the series, and we should expect them to continue going at him in game two on May 19.

White is Yet to Find His Rhythm in Boston

When the Celtics acquired White at the trade deadline, they knew that he wasn’t a shooter. Instead, he’s a player who consistently makes the right decision and looks to create opportunities for his teammates by cutting, playmaking, or penetrating off the dribble.

“We’ve thought for years that Derrick was a really good fit with our best players. He is an excellent defender, and he just makes the right play on offense over and over and over. He is a guy who only cares about winning that will do all of the little things, as you can see in some of his stats defensively and his willingness to put his body on the line. On offense, he impacts the game just by making simple plays. He doesn’t need to be on the highlights to impact winning,” Brad Stevens said of White when speaking to the media after the trade deadline. 

Unfortunately, White’s shooting has been worse than first feared, with the veteran guard hitting just 30.6% of his perimeter attempts throughout his 26 regular-season games with the team and a paltry 23.7% from deep in the playoffs.
Still, in Boston’s series against the Milwaukee Bucks, we began to see what Derrick White brings to the team, as his ability to penetrate off the dribble allowed the Celtics to manipulate Milwaukee’s rim protectors, providing Boston some much-needed rim pressure as the series wore on.
The Celtics are set to face the Heat on May 19 and need a win, as a second straight loss will mean the Celtics need to win four of the remaining five games, but without Horford and White, the team faces an uphill battle.
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