NBA

'Sky's the limit' for Coby White as Bulls tee up Miami rematch

By Sports Desk April 18, 2024

Dejounte Murray declared "the sky's the limit" for Coby White after his career-best performance guided the Chicago Bulls past the Atlanta Hawks in the Play-In Tournament on Wednesday.

The Bulls clinched a 131-116 win over Atlanta at a sold-out United Center in their first Play-In game, teeing up a rematch with the Miami Heat – who eliminated them from last year's Play-In Tournament – for Friday.

White had a career-high 42 points, the second-best tally ever recorded in a Play-In contest, after Jayson Tatum's 50 against the Washington Wizards in 2021, and went 15-of-21 from the field.

His stunning performance meant Murray's own 30-point showing counted for nothing, with Atlanta always fighting an uphill battle after going 18 points down in the first quarter.

Asked about White after the game, Murray said: "I root for guys that work hard and are great people.

"[Bulls forward] DeMar DeRozan's a brother to me and he speaks highly of him. He says he works hard, he's a great guy, he's handled his business, he's a professional on and off the floor. 

"When I hear those things, I root for guys around the league just to have success. 

"I think he's always been good. He never really got the opportunity to showcase what he's showcasing now, and the sky's the limit."

It was something of a breakout performance for White, who averaged just 8.4 points per game in his only previous playoff series, a 4-1 first-round defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2022.

He was also part of the Chicago team beaten by the Heat in last year's Play-In Tournament, and they will get a chance to avenge that loss when they go to Kaseya Center on Friday.

"I'm just grateful to be where I'm at. That first playoff series I ever had in my career didn't go how I wanted it to go," White said. 

"Then last year, I played better in the Play-In, but this year, I didn't come into the game saying I was going to put the team on my back. 

"I just wanted to be aggressive and take what the defense gave me and try to lead."

DeRozan is glad to have the opportunity to banish the ghosts of last year's loss in Miami, saying: "I remember that plane ride back home vividly, everybody was just frustrated.

"That feeling sucked. I know for me that was one thing that was on my mind once I realised we were going back to Miami, not to have that same feeling."

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