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Celtics-Pelicans takeaways: White leads fourth-quarter surge in C's win

Celtics-Pelicans takeaways: White leads fourth-quarter surge in C's win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Three Key Storylines

The Boston Celtics bounced back from Saturday's blowout loss with a thrilling victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.

For a while, it looked like the C's were on the verge of dropping two straight games at home for the first time this season. They trailed by as many as 17 points in what appeared to be a continuation of their dismal performance vs. the Los Angeles Clippers.

They started to find their groove in the third quarter, erasing the 17-point deficit and taking the lead with 4:45 to go in the frame. The Pelicans didn't back down as they answered every C's run with a punch of their own. In the fourth quarter though, Boston caught fire and closed out an entertaining 118-112 victory. It's now 10-1 this season following a loss.

The Celtics earned the hard-fought win despite being short-handed in their frontcourt without Kristaps Porzingis (left ankle sprain) and Luke Kornet (left hamstring tightness). Five C's players scored in double figures including Jayson Tatum (game-high 28 points), Jaylen Brown (22 points), and Jrue Holiday (20 points).

For the Pelicans, Brandon Ingram (28 points) and Zion Williamson (26 points) did most of the damage.

The Celtics' (36-11) seven-game homestand continues against the Indiana Pacers (27-20) on Tuesday night. First, here are three takeaways from Monday's action.

Derrick White comes through in the clutch

White's shooting slump continued for most of Monday night's game. After going 0-for-8 from the field and 0-for-4 from 3 on Saturday, he started 1-for-9 from the field and 1-for-7 from deep against New Orleans.

But later, in typical Derrick White fashion, he stepped up when it mattered most.

White took over in the fourth quarter to help Boston complete the comeback win. The 2024 All-Star candidate notched 13 of his 17 points in the final frame, including three clutch 3-pointers.

White finished 6-for-14 on field goals and a respectable 4-for-10 from long range. The All-Defensive guard added four assists, one rebound, a steal, and a block. He and Tatum combined for 27 of Boston's 37 fourth-quarter points.

Jrue Holiday cooks his former team

As C's broadcaster Brian Scalabrine asked during Monday's game, why would a team trade Jrue Holiday?

The Celtics' veteran guard reminded the Pelicans of their mistake in this game. When the rest of the team struggled to make shots, it was Holiday keeping them afloat. He tallied all 20 of his points on only 11 shots (7-11 FG, 3-5 3-PT) in the first three quarters, nearly topping his season-high of 22.

Twelve of his points came in the third quarter to help Boston erase its 17-point deficit. It was the most points he has scored in any quarter this season.

Holiday added three rebounds, two assists, and a steal to his stat line. White and Tatum finished the job, but Holiday was instrumental in putting the Celtics in the position to mount a comeback.

Al Horford steps up for short-handed frontcourt

The Celtics remained without Porzingis, who injured his ankle in Thursday's win over the Miami Heat. They also were missing Kornet, leaving Horford and Neemias Queta as their only available bigs.

Horford wasted little time making his presence felt. Getting the start in Porzingis' place, he drilled a 3 for the Celtics' first points of the game and proceeded to bring down six boards in the opening frame.

The 37-year-old played a key role on both ends of the floor. He totaled 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting (3-6 3-PT) to go with eight rebounds, four assists, and an emphatic block on Zion Williamson.

Horford has consistently stepped up when Porzingis has been unable to take the court. The Celtics will hope he won't have to much longer -- head coach Joe Mazzulla considered Porzingis as "day-to-day" with his injury -- but they can rest assured they're in good hands with Horford leading the frontcourt.

With the Celtics playing the second night of a back-to-back on Tuesday, it'll be interesting to see how their frontcourt looks against Indiana. Horford typically plays only one game of a back-to-back, and it's unclear whether Porzingis and Kornet will be ready to return.