Derrick White’s Controversial Block vs. Mavericks in Game 2 Seals Celtics Win

Screengrab on Twitter/ @SportsCenter

The Dallas Mavericks lost Game 2 of the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics in a 105–98 defeat arguably filled with as many defensive highlights as offensive ones.

For Boston, Jaylen Brown expertly defended Mavs star Kyrie Irving in one lockdown sequence early on, and Kristaps Porzingis also made his presence felt with a crucial block late in the game. But it was Derrick White’s game-sealing defensive play with the Celtics up by five points and roughly 50 seconds left to go that essentially clinched Boston’s win and created buzz on social media for several reasons.

After the Mavericks stuffed Jayson Tatum in the paint on one side of the court, Irving and P.J. Washington blazed forward on a fast break looking to narrow Boston’s lead. Washington collected a pass and leapt for a dunk when White denied him at the rim with what appeared to be an epic block.

Fans were reminded of LeBron James’s clutch block on Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala in the Finals eight years ago.

However, slow-motion replays revealed that Celtics forward Jaylen Brown appeared to have pushed Washington from behind during the sequence, and that White made contact with Washington’s hand on the block, meaning a foul easily could have been called. 

ESPN’s Mike Breen admitted after the game was over that the officials did indeed miss the foul on Washington.

The Celtics nonetheless took Game 2 for a 2–0 series lead and will travel to Dallas for the next two matchups of the NBA Finals.

Kristen Wong


Kristen Wong is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. She has been a sports journalist since 2020. Before joining SI, Kristen covered four NFL teams as an associate editor with the FanSided NFL Network and worked as a staff writer for the brand’s flagship site. She has written about soccer, the NFL, NBA, and MLB since 2020, and outside of work, has dreams of running her own sporty dive bar.