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White Logs 1st Triple-Double as Celtics Throttle Pistons

BOSTON – Derrick White isn’t one to chase statistical achievements. It’s just not a part of his selfless approach. But when he glanced up at the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s matchup with the Detroit Pistons and saw he was just one assist shy of his first career triple-double, he just had to go for it.

Even if he had no intention of going for it, his teammates would have guided him there.

“I think everybody was aware,” said Payton Pritchard. “It was pretty easy to look up there and you see 22-10-9. We were going to try to help him out with that."

So that's what they did. The Celtics drew up a two-man, off-ball action with Pritchard and Svi Mykhailiuk; White dished to the former, who knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:25 left in the game to give White 10 assists on the night.

White finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals, and one block in 37 minutes of action as part of a 119-94 throttling of the Pistons, while also logging his 5,000th career point.

Just as he was aware of the impending milestone, White was also aware of the impending post-game bath before his walk-off interview with NBC Sports Boston.

Luke Kornet, Jrue Holiday, Al Horford, and Horford's 9-year-old son Ean approached White from behind, holding cups filled with water; White saw Kornet out of the corner of his eye and attempted to dodge the attack, though they still managed to douse him.

“I saw Luke, and they did it too early,” White later described. “[NBCSB] hadn’t even asked a question yet, so I was still a little bit observant. But Luke is not the sneakiest person in the world, thankfully.”

White became just the second Celtic this season to log a triple-double, joining Jaylen Brown, who recorded 13 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists on Jan. 21 at Houston.

Pritchard, responsible for the team’s most recent 20-point triple-double in last year’s regular-season finale, was surprised to learn that this was White’s first time hitting such a milestone.

“He does everything,” Pritchard said. “He's so well-rounded. He rebounds, he blocks shots, assists, and scores when you need him to. He can have a big game in so many variety of ways."

The Celtics needed him to have a big game in a variety of ways Monday night, considering how they were without two of their more well-rounded players in Jrue Holiday and Jayson Tatum.

“It’s great for him. I’m happy for him,” head coach Joe Mazzulla said of White’s achievement. “He’s continuing to grow as a two-way player on both sides of the ball … The triple-double is an example of who he is as a player, but it doesn’t show how great he is on both ends of the floor.”

To Mazzulla’s point, White made some tremendous defensive plays in this game as well, including an emphatic chase-down block on a Malachi Flynn fast-break lay-up attempt.

That type of all-around reliability is one of the many reasons why teammates, such as Kristaps Porzingis, appreciate White’s presence.

“It’s hard not to love him,” said Porzingis, who returned from a five-game absence and put up 20 points in 21 minutes. “This guy, just on and off the court, is a unique human and unique player. I can go on and on and give compliments to D-White, honestly, about who he is. Everybody loves him here and it’s good always to see people like this getting recognition on the floor also. And that’s what he did tonight.”