How Celtics player Derrick White became a Game 6 hero

Derrick White

HEART-STOPPING NIGHT ON SATURDAY NIGHT Derrick White’s buzzer-beating, season-saving tip-in in Game 6 in Miami forced a winner-take-all Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat (Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT). “Derrick White, like a flash of lightning, came out of nowhere and saved the day,” said Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown.

But White did more than simply help the Celtics win the game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, his teammates converted 6-of-8 of his passes for 12 points. When he challenged the shot, he kept the Heat to 1-of-12 shooting (and 0-of-4 from 3-point range). When White was his primary defender, Heat standout Jimmy Butler shot 0-of-6.

White, who was acquired by the Celtics in a mid-February trade from the San Antonio Spurs.

In Boston, the admiration for White is effusive, bordering on fanatical. “He does whatever it takes to win a possession,” said Brad Stevens, president of basketball operations for the Boston Celtics. “He works really hard and is quite intelligent. And he always gives his best effort.”

“He makes everybody better,” said Celtics governor Wyc Grousbeck. Derrick White is a favorite of ours.”

The Celtics won 57 regular-season games this season, their highest since 2008-09, when Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen led a Big Three Celtics team that won one title and reached two Finals. Then, in 2013, the Celtics traded an aging Garnett and Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for a slew of first-round selections that they anticipated would become the foundation of the future Celtics.

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