Preseason games can provide a great opportunity for training camp signers to make their case for a full-time NBA roster spot. Boston Celtics flanker Justin Jackson certainly made his Friday night by single-handedly delivering the most pivotal stretch in a comeback win on the road over the Charlotte Hornets.
The Celtics, who had rallied from a 16-point deficit, found themselves down 81-80 with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter, and that’s when Jackson broke out, hitting three straight 3-pointers in a span of 61 seconds.
After doing it on offense, putting the Celtics up 89-83, it was time for Jackson to shine at the other end. He closed out the final minute of the frame by intercepting a Terry Rozier pass and then chasing down and blocking a Mark Williams dunk attempt in electrifying fashion.
Jackson finished with 16 points on the night, and his singles run gave Boston a permanent cushion en route to a 112-103 victory.
Entering his first full season with the Celtics, Derrick White says he feels much more comfortable than he did last spring after being traded to Boston and having to learn their system on the fly.
It showed on Friday night, as he delivered in every area of the game in his third straight preseason start.
White scored 18 points, including 15 in the first half, and shot 6-for-10 from the field, 2-for-5 from 3-point range and 4-for-5 from the free throw line. He finished one point shy of Jaylen Brown’s team-high 19 points and one assist shy of Payton Pritchard’s team’s top seven.
White also grabbed four rebounds and led the game with two blocks, all in 24 minutes of action.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics had five players who scored between 14 and 19 points.
- Jaylen Brown paced Boston with 19 in the scoring column.
- LaMelo Ball led the game in points (23) and assists (nine).
- Noah Vonleh posted a double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) for the C’s.
- Derrick White filled the stat sheet with 18 points, four rebounds, six assists, two blocks and a steal.
- Boston rallied from a 16-point deficit before winning by nine.
- Blake Griffin had seven points, nine rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes in his first game as a Celtic.
- Seven different Celtics players pulled off a steal.
- Brodric Thomas posted a game-best plus-18 in 15 minutes.
- Justin Jackson (16 points) and Payton Pritchard (15 points) combined for 31 of Boston’s 43 bench points.
“The level of intensity and the level of maturity of this group is off the charts.”