Celtics Veteran Sends Strong Message to Bucks Ahead of Game 2

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Getty Images Grant Williams #12,Derrick White #9, Al Horford #42, Jaylen Brown #7, Marcus Smart #36 and head coach Ime Udoka of the Celtics

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White wasn’t satisfied with his performance against the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals’ best-of-7 series.

Still, he knows which things need to change for the Celtics to bounce back in Game 2 at TD Garden Tuesday night.

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White’s postseason struggles have flown under the radar due to the Celtics triumphantly sweeping Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving 4-0 in Boston’s opening-round series against the Brooklyn Nets. However, they carried over into Sunday’s matinee against the Bucks.

Celtics’ Derrick White: ‘I Got to Do a Better Job’

Despite scoring a playoff-high ten points on 2-of-6 attempts in the Celtics’ 101-89 loss in Game 1, White knows there’s plenty of room for improvement on the offensive end of the floor to combat the Bucks’ suffocating defense — which coerced the Celtics to commit 18 turnovers while shooting 33.3% from the floor.

“I think I got to do a better job of being more steady,” White said on Monday after practice. “They picked the pressure up, picking us up fullcourt. So, just being a little more steady and get us into our offense to get us into something each and every time down. And not let that affect us. That was the first time people have guarded us like that since I’ve been here. So, it’s just an adjustment we’re going to have to make.”

White: ‘Everything Can Change in One Game’

Still, White reminded reporters at Celtics practice of the longevity of a best-of-7 series on Monday. And how one game can swing the momentum’s favor from one team to the other.

“It’s the playoffs, and everything can change off of one game,” White added. “So, gotta put that behind us. Move onto Game 2; this could be a huge game for us. Just come with the right sense of urgency, and be ready to go. Everything can change in one game, so you keep having that mindset.”

As the Celtics’ secondary playmaker, White is holding himself accountable for Boston’s approach in Game 2. After averaging 5.3 points and 2.0 assists while shooting at a 34.5% clip from the floor and 21.4% from behind the arc against the Nets, White knows he has to do a better job on the offensive end in Boston’s second-round matchup.

The fifth-year veteran averaged 11.0 points and 3.5 assists while shooting above 40% from the floor, per Basketball-Reference.com, throughout the regular season for Boston after he was traded by the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for a package that included two of the Celtics’ future first-round picks.

White addressed the inconsistencies in his performance of late.

“Some of that bad offense led to them getting on-transition, but we were pretty good in the halfcourt,” White said. “They kind of got out in transition and got some easy ones there. Things that we need to clean up on that end and defensively just little things we’ve been working on for a couple of days now. So, just trying to hone in on that game plan and improve for the next game.”

Milwaukee’s physicality certainly played a part in Game 1, which Derrick noted during his media availability, and says the Celtics are eager to counter the Bucks’ first swing of the series.

“We knew it was going to be more physical this series than last,” White said. “They came out, and they hit the first punch. So, it’s time for us to bounce back, understand what they’re going to do, and make adjustments, and be ready to have that (physicality) to give it back to them.”