“I’ll tell you one thing man, if you don’t know who D-White is, you know who he is now,” said Marcus Smart.
With his back against the wall on a Saturday night, The Boston Celtics crumbled. They slowly snuffed out a double-digit lead over the last 4:56 of the game. And with three seconds left on the clock, they were one to go Miami heat.
Then Derrick White came to the rescue.
Boston got the ball, Smart made a wave, and after the ball bounced off the rim and went out, White was there to place an undo, sealing victory of the Celts.
“Everything happened so fast,” said Jaylen Brown. “I couldn’t tell. Smart shot and thought it was good. And then Derrick White, like lightning, came out of nowhere and saved the day, man. It was just an amazing play.”
The Celtics have struggled in close games all year, and it should never end this way. They controlled all night, but as is often the case, they fell apart in the final minutes.
But it didn’t matter. White made sure it didn’t matter.
“There’s no point in standing there in the corner, whether he succeeds or not,” said White. “So I was just breaking a window and it came to my mind.”
Boston was 0.2 seconds away from booking flights to Cancun and starting the off-season regime.
Now they are one victory away from history.
“I still don’t believe it. This shit was crazy,” said Jayson Tatum. “But I’m glad we got another chance, another chance. It’s not over yet. Still a hard fight. But it’s good to give yourself another chance. Another opportunity.
White set a goal to improve his game in the postseason. He was MVP with the TD Garden against the Atlanta Hawks, shot 47.5% from three field goals throughout the playoffs, and co-led the Celtics with Smart in Game 5 against Miami.
At every turn, the 28-year-old from Parker, Colorado, left his mark. However, his humble demeanor does not allow him to go too far.
“We’re just happy we won,” said White. “However we had to do it, we did it. And now we move on to Game 7.”
White’s name will be popping up online until the start of Game 7 because of his amazing tip, but the journey that got him there should be a bigger story.
He was cut from his basketball team in the eighth grade and only had one high school offer (from the DII program), but he still pushed through every obstacle that came his way.
And for all its success, it still is the same Oreo-loving family guy he always was.
“It’s going to be a little crazy,” White said of the reaction to his winner. “My phone is already exploding. But I will (go) home tomorrow (and) play with Hendrix. I’m sure he won’t look at me differently. So it’ll be fun.”
When Boston was losing 3-0, there were rumors of their demise. Reports indicating their contempt for each other dominated the headlines. But they made it.
And just when it looked like all their persistence would be wasted, White was there, as he had been all season.
“This guy has been phenomenal to us all, all year,” said Smart. “Just play the way we knew he could play when we picked him up. And that was refreshing for us. It was a pleasure to watch him and be with him on the court.”