Coby White has fun with Hawks' defense, career-best night

Coby White has fun with Hawks’ defense, career-best night originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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Coby White authored the night of his NBA life on Wednesday, drawing chants of “Co-by! Co-by!” from the United Center faithful as the Chicago Bulls’ Play-In victory over the Atlanta Hawks wound down.

His 42 points marked the most he has scored in an NBA game, but technically, it’s not a career-high night because Play-In statistics don’t count. The games are neither regular-season nor playoff games.

White doesn’t care.

“It was a dope moment for that to happen. I’m thankful for the fans. It felt like a playoff vibe. The place was rocking tonight,” he said. “And I’m definitely counting it as my career-high. It’s on the stat sheet right here.”

White’s coaches and teammates shared in his joy.

“Phenomenal player,” Ayo Dosunmu said. “His attitude, his demeanor, everything about him, I loved it—his work ethic. I’ve seen him put a lot of work into his game. So anytime he has a performance like that, I’m not surprised. But I’m happy and excited that on this platform, people can see what type of player he is.”

Dosunmu added nine rebounds and six assists and sank his first 10 shots in the paint. He shot 15-for-21 overall.

“He did a good job playing aggressively, took his 3s when they were there. And he made a lot of good passes to guys. I thought he played a really complete game. I know the number 42 is a huge game and really phenomenal. But I thought he played a really complete game,” coach Billy Donovan said. “I thought he defended. I thought he assisted, got downhill, made the game easy for guys.”

DeMar DeRozan joked that White “did alright, could’ve been a little better.” But growing serious, DeRozan said the team focused pregame on starting aggressively. And White played the first quarter like he had been shot out of a cannon.

“We just wanted to play with pace, get downhill,” White said. “Ayo does that every game, so it’s not out of the norm for him. But we knew if we attacked the paint and got the defense to collapse, we needed to either finish or spray it out.

“I’m just grateful. That first playoff series I ever had in my career didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. Last year, I played better in the play-in. And then this year, I didn’t come into the game saying I was going to put the team (on my back). But I just wanted to be aggressive and take what the defense gave me. I just wanted to impact winning on both ends. I was aggressive and things went my way.”

Even if it’s not a career-high night. It’s a victory.

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