White Shines In Bulls' Win: 'Just Be Coby'

White had a historic fourth quarter, hitting a franchise-record seven 3-pointers.

Cody Westerlund
November 12, 2019 - 10:37 pm

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- When the Bulls were in need of a dose of hope in the worst way, rookie guard Coby White responded in historic fashion.

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White hit seven 3-pointers and scored 23 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to almost single-handedly lift the Bulls to a 120-102 win against the Knicks at the United Center on Tuesday evening in a game that had been back-and-forth. His shooting spree marked the most 3-pointers in a quarter in franchise history, and it came after he shot 3-of-26 from behind the arc in his last five games.

“He’s a gamer,” coach Jim Boylen said. “And he’s a worker. I think he works. It bothers him when he doesn’t play as well as he thinks he can play. It bothers him. He cares. I’m just really happy for him.”

White’s hot stretch started when he drilled a 3-pointer with exactly 11 minutes left to put the Bulls up for good at 90-89. What followed was a scene that had never been witnessed in franchise history.

That was the first of a trio of his 3-pointers in a 54-second stretch that gave the Bulls control. Each of his first six 3-pointers in the quarters came on assists – including three from Ryan Arcidiacono and two from Kris Dunn as the Bulls’ bench dominated by outscoring their Knicks counterparts 53-22 – which was a development that pleased Boylen.

“I thought the beauty in Coby’s game was he let it come to him, but also we found him,” Boylen said. “We honored what he was doing – we kept feeding him, we kept getting him, kept finding him. And I thought that group did a hell of a job. Obviously, he was terrific, and we helped him be that way, which is what I think good teams do.”

White’s last trey was his most ridiculous, coming off the bounce on a stepback 30-footer with 1:42 left. He exited 11 seconds later to chants of “Co-by, Co-by” from the United Center crowd.

“I just got hot, I guess,” White said. “I saw my first one fall. I had been shooting it bad, so it was good to see the first one fall. I just got into a good rhythm.

“We always try to feed the hot hand, not matter who it is. We should always feed the hot hand, whoever has it going.”

The 19-year-old White also became the youngest player in NBA history to hit seven 3-pointers in game, according to Basketball Reference.

“It’s a blessing,” White said upon being informed of that fact.

Making White’s night more special was that North Carolina coach Roy Williams was in attendance, sitting a few rows up from midcourt. White starred for Williams and the Tar Heels in his lone college season, and the two continue to hold a close relationship. Williams made the day trip to Chicago after giving his team the day off Tuesday.

Williams crashed White’s postgame television interview to give him a hug, while White responded that he loved his coach.

“He just told me to go out there and be Coby – use a little more legs on my shot,” White said of his pregame chat with Williams. “He just told me if I be Coby, everything will take care of itself.

“When you got people behind you that believe in you, anything is possible.”

White’s heroics came at an opportune time for the Bulls, who entered the day searching for answers at 3-7 after underachieving with a soft schedule early. The Bulls then encountered a newfound turnover problem Tuesday. They committed 17 turnovers through three quarters, including six by Lauri Markkanen.

The possibility of a brutal loss to a two-win team was staring the Bulls in the face before White rose to the occasion.

“Holding each other accountable,” second-year center Wendell Carter Jr. said of how the Bulls can make sure to build off the win. “Like I said, we see exactly what we're capable of doing. So now, that's my expectation -- nothing lower than that. Whenever that doesn't happen, I've found my voice on this team where I can talk to each individual player in a manner where they will understand. So from my perspective, I know that I can hold my teammates accountable, and I know they’re going to do the same for me.”

Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.