NBA playoffs

Red-hot White powers Celtics past Heat with 38 points, 8 threes; Porzingis goes down anew


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Red-hot White powers Celtics past Heat with 38 points, 8 threes; Porzingis goes down anew

Apr 27, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (9) brings the ball up the court against the Miami Heat in the first half during game three of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Kaseya Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

All-around guard Derrick White carries the Boston Celtics past the Miami Heat for a 3-1 edge in the NBA playoffs as star center Kristaps Porzingis goes down with a calf injury

Derrick White scored 38 points on 15-for-26 shooting, including 8-for-15 success from 3-point range, and the Boston Celtics cruised to a 102-88 win over the host Miami Heat on Monday night (Tuesday, April 30, Manila time).

Jayson Tatum added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who seized a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. Jaylen Brown finished with 17 points.

White, a 29-year-old guard, produced a career-high point total — regular season or postseason.

White said his coach, Joe Mazzulla, and his teammates empowered him.

“It starts with Joe,” White said. “Ever since he took over, he’s just given me the most confidence. I can talk to him, he can talk to me. That relationship is just getting better and better each day. It’s amazing to play for him, and I love it.

“And then obviously the teammates. We’ve got such great players on the team, but they allow me to do what I do and believe in me, and I think that’s big.”

Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 25 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. Tyler Herro contributed 19 points and Caleb Martin had 18 for Miami, which will try to stave off elimination in Game 5 of the series on Wednesday night in Boston.

The victory came with a potential injury cost for top-seeded Boston.

Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis injured his calf in the first half and did not return. Porzingis reportedly will undergo tests on Tuesday, but indications are that he did not sustain a significant Achilles tendon injury.

Mazzulla praised his team for the way it responded to playing without Porzingis.

“Everybody just stepped it up,” he said. “… It’s going to have to be from everybody.”

Down by 28 in the third quarter, Miami opened the fourth on a 19-10 run to pull within 13. That surge included a 7-0 run for the Heat that featured a 3-pointer by Martin, a mid-range jump shot by Herro and a basket by Adebayo.

The Celtics led 81-59 at the end of the third quarter.

White gave Boston its biggest lead of the game with three minutes to go in the third quarter, when his floater made it 75-47.

Boston took a 53-36 lead into halftime.

The Celtics jumped to a 34-24 advantage at the end of the first quarter. Tatum drained a 3-pointer to give Boston a 14-point lead with 1:21 left in the period, but Adebayo finished the session with back-to-back baskets to cut the deficit to 10.

Stingy defense and cold shooting proved prominent for both teams during the second quarter. Boston managed 19 points in the quarter and Miami scored only 12.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said his team played winning defense but needed to do more on offense.

“I know in my heart we have a game that’s there,” Spoelstra said. “It’s just a matter of the ball going in a few more times, and then all of a sudden it ignites and then it just keeps on going.

“We’ve proven we can win a bunch of different ways, but I think we have a game — I think we have an offensive game — in us.”

The Heat shot 5-for-22 overall (22.7 percent) and 1-for-7 from beyond the arc in the second. Boston shot 7-for-20 (35 percent) from the field and 4-for-9 from long distance. –

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