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Jrue Holiday ‘amazed’ by Derrick White’s defensive ability

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Jrue Holiday ‘amazed’ by Derrick White’s defensive ability

Jrue Holiday ‘amazed’ by Derrick White’s defensive ability originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics‘ backcourt of Jrue Holiday and Derrick White has been an absolute matchup nightmare for opposing teams this season. Combining for 1.9 blocks and 1.8 steals per game, the two have found success defending against every position on the court.

NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin caught up with Holiday before Tuesday night’s tip-off against the Philadelphia 76ers to discuss the duo’s defensive success on the year so far.

“I think between me and D-White, it’s a good one,” Holiday said of the duo’s nickname, “The Stock Exchange.” “We definitely feed off each other, especially defensively. The way that he defends sometimes, I’m amazed.”

White is off to a historic start to the season, becoming just the second player in NBA history to post 200 assists, 125 3-pointers, 50 blocks, and 50 steals through the first 51 games, putting his name alongside LeBron James in the record books. Additionally, White leads the league in net rating (12.6) and plus-minus (+452). White also leads all guards in blocks this season, posting career-highs in all stat categories aside from assists.

“I feel like on defense I’ve done some crazy stuff, but D-White is amazing on defense,” Holiday added of White.

Holiday joined the Celtics during this past offseason, giving Boston the pass-first, defensive-minded point guard they had been missing. Despite never winning the Defensive Player of the Year award, his name had been in the running across multiple seasons, gaining five All-Defense nods in the process. Now paired with White, the 2021 NBA Champion has found even more motivation to become a better defender.

“I got a block last game [against the Knicks] on Jalen Brunson, and I looked straight at [White] because that’s usually what D-White does,” Holiday continued on. “He’s usually chasing somebody down from coming over a screen or something like that to block a shot, so I was like ‘I’m turning into you, bro!'”

While Holiday’s numbers may have declined on a year-to-year basis this season, no one will question the impact that the two-time All-Star brings to Boston. Buying into Joe Mazzulla’s team-first mentality, Holiday has found a way to make those around him better, just as White is motivating Holiday to continue to improve even more on defense.

“I think that he gets me to do different things in terms of, like, coming off a screen and trying to block a shot from right off the screen, or chasing somebody down and trying to block it at the rim,” Holiday said of White’s influence. “Things like that I usually leave to the bigs, obviously we have K.P. [Kristaps Porzingis], Neemi [Neemias Queta], Al [Horford], Luke [Kornet], but you know what — I can block shots at the rim, too. Maybe I’m a rim protector. I know D-White is.”

Now 33 years old, Holiday proves that whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was wrong, and that they just needed a good teammate like White to push them forward.

Check out Holiday’s full interview with Abby Chin in the YouTube video below.

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