Derrick White dominates as Celtics fend off late Hornets surge for 127-116 win

The Boston Celtics took down the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night, earning a wire-to-wire victory that ended in a final score of 127-116. Despite a slight scare in the second half, Boston’s three-point shooting carried them to a win.

With Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford sidelined, the Celtics needed guys other than Jayson Tatum to step up. Derrick White did just that.

White dominated the first half. The point guard put up 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor and 7-of-9 shooting from distance. He nailed his first eight shots of the night, including his first six three-pointers. White trailed only Tatum (41 points) in the scoring column against Charlotte, as he dropped a career-high 33 points to go along with 10 assists. He also tied the Celtics record for most threes in the first half with seven.

Boston was red-hot from three-point range against the Hornets, ending the night shooting 25-for-55 from deep. White’s eight made threes led the way, but Boston’s bench stepped up in that area as well, with four different players nailing a triple off the pine.

The Celtics’ three-point efforts were also highlighted by big man Mike Muscala, though, who Boston acquired at this year’s trade deadline. He nailed his first three in a Celtics uniform with 1:49 left in the first quarter, which was met by a rousing ovation from TD Garden. Muscala ended the night with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from behind the arc in his Celtics debut.

Sam Hauser also pitched in with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from deep, earning the second start of his career. The second-year forward is now averaging 13.5 points in two career starts after earning his first start in Boston’s February 6 win over the Detroit Pistons.

For the Hornets, it was former Celtic Terry Rozier who stole the show, scoring 27 points. He was aided by LaMelo Ball, who also poured in 24 points to go along with nine rebounds and 10 assists, while rookie center Mark Williams had 11 points and 12 boards in his first career start.

Charlotte mounted a comeback at the end of the third quarter, cutting down a 28-point Celtics lead to just 13 points in under four minutes of game time. Turnovers were a real issue for the Celtics, as they committed 15 over the course of the game, including seven in the third quarter alone.

But luckily for Boston, their three-point MasterClass carried over into the final frame, as they were able to close out the Hornets after a brief scare. Charlotte continued to be a thorn in their side, but the Celtics were able to fend them off for just long enough to pick up the win.

The Celtics will welcome the Memphis Grizzlies to TD Garden on Monday afternoon for a matinee game that will tip off at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.

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