Stars, studs and duds: Crowder's play key in Celtics victory over Bucks

Stars, studs and duds: Crowder's play key in Celtics victory over Bucks

For as long as Jae Crowder has been a Boston Celtic, it seems there has been a movement to find someone better.

Boston unsuccessfully went after Kevin Durant this summer; heck, they even had Crowder in on the recruiting trip to land him.

And then there was talk about targeting Chicago’s Jimmy Butler (a college teammate of his at Marquette) as well as rumors about Boston potentially making a run at Utah’s Gordon Hayward who is expected to hit the free agent market this summer.


He hears it all, and has made no secret about it bothering him.

There’s only one way to quiet that talk, and that’s to play and play well – something he has done quite a bit of lately.

Several players stepped up in Boston’s 112-108 overtime win against the Milwaukee Bucks, but the play of Crowder truly stood out.

He had 20 points which included the last four for Boston – all from the free throw line – which proved to be the difference.

In his last nine games, Crowder has averaged 18.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 45.3 percent from 3-point range.

Crowder’s scoring combined with his defense (he got some help, I know) against Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo was crucial to Boston emerging with what was their third straight win.

Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday night’s game.



Jae Crowder

The former Big East player of the Year was back on familiar soil at the Bradley Center, and man did he look at home. He finished with 20 points

Isaiah Thomas

The usual fourth quarter heroics weren’t there tonight (he got some help from Jae Crowder and company), but that didn’t stop him from having yet another monster game. He led all scorers with 37 points and eight assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Greek Freak got off to a slow start, but got better as the game progressed. He finished with a team-high 21 points along with six rebounds, six assists and a blocked shot.



Greg Monroe

Milwaukee’s comeback, particularly down the stretch, was fueled by Monroe absolutely abusing Kelly Olynyk in the post. He had 14 points off the bench, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter.

Amir Johnson

He scored 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting does qualify as a big night scoring. But more than the scoring, he came up with huge plays defensively like drawing a charge as well as providing great help-side defense that forced a miss in the closing seconds. He also grabbed seven rebounds and two assists.  

Kelly Olynyk

He struggled defensively against Monroe, but Olynyk did a lot of good things most of the game at both ends of the floor. Along with 17 points off the bench, Olynyk also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists.



Jabari Parker

You can rest assured that Parker won’t have too many games like this. At no point did Parker ever seem in rhythm offensively which is where he tends to make the greatest impact when he’s on the floor. Parker scored just four points while missing 11 of his 13 shots from the field.

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on he knee looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how and if Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves! on Tursday the Pats made deals with LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom Curran discuss how despite these moves, the Patriots should still be in search of a left tackle.

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

File Photo

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

BOSTON – We live in a world filled with success stories that came about by accident. 

The invention of the microwave oven.

Post-It notes.

The creation of potato chips.

The Boston Celtics’ game-winning play against Oklahoma City earlier this week qualfies; a play in which there were multiple miscues made by the Celtics prior to Marcus Morris’ game-winning shot. 


All these Celtics injuries have made Brad Stevens a mad scientist of sorts with some unusual lineups that may be on display tonight against the guard-centric Portland Trail Blazers. 

In Boston’s 100-99 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, we saw Stevens utilize a lineup with Al Horford and Greg Monroe, in four different stints.

Monroe, who had 17 points off the bench - the most he has scored as a Celtic -  enjoyed playing with Horford.

“Al’s so smart. He’s seen it all in this league,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s an all-star. Very cerebral player, unselfish. So it’s easy playing with him. He can space, drive, make plays. I feel like I can make plays, driving. It’s fun playing with him. I look forward to getting out there with him more.”

Horford had similar praise for playing with Monroe.

“Coach (Brad Stevens) made a great move bringing Greg back in, in the fourth, playing us together,” Horford said. “He made some great plays, passing the ball and just … timely plays. It’s one of those things, the more we play with each other the more comfortable we’ll get. I thought it was very positive.”

Monroe’s role has become significantly more important with the season-ending injury (torn meniscus, left knee) to Daniel Theis. And his ability to play well with various lineups will only improve Boston’s chances of weathering this latest storm of injuries which comes on the eve of the playoffs. 

And while there’s a certain amount of pleasure all players take in being on a playoff-bound team, Monroe understands better than most NBA veterans just how special it is to be headed towards the postseason.

In his eighth season, this will only be Monroe’s second time participating in the playoffs. 

The first time? 

That was last year, with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“This is what everybody plays for, I hope,” Monroe said. “This is what I play for, to get into the postseason, make a run. It’s the best situation. I’ve been through a lot in my career, this year. I’m grateful. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

And he has done that lately.

Monroe comes into tonight’s game having scored in double figures each of the last four games, a season high for the 6-foot-11 center. 

Having spent most of his NBA career watching instead of participating in the playoffs, Monroe is out to prove that he can in fact be a significant contributor to a team that’s postseason-bound.

“For sure. You have to have a little chip, a little fire, at least in my eyes,” Monroe said. “I’ve never doubted myself. It’s about being between those lines and being the best player I can be. That’s what I’m focused on.”