BOSTON – Greg Monroe isn’t all that different than most NBA players who want to play as much as possible.
But Monroe is a realist.
He recognizes the talent around him, acknowledges how well the Boston Celtics have played this season and understands the importance of being patient for his time to shine.
By no means was the 6-foot-11 big man the only standout in Boston’s 134-106 massacre of the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.
But the fact that he was impactful, particularly on offense, was a good sign.
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Monroe was one of seven double-figure scorers for Boston (44-19), tallying 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.
There was a stretch in the game when Boston went exclusively to Monroe who just abused Charlotte’s Willy Hernangomez on four straight possessions with Monroe scoring three baskets in that span.
“I definitely felt like I got a pretty good rhythm,” Monroe said afterwards.
And while it’s highly unlikely that Hernangomez will be getting any all-NBA defensive votes this season, there’s one thing folks have to remember about Monroe.
More often than not, he’ll be matched up with an opposing team’s big man.
And with his size, strength, length and footwork on the post, more times than not he will have an advantage on the block that you can bet the Celtics are going to try and exploit as much as they can.
“We’ve been on the other end of that when Greg gets it going,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “You could tell he had a real bounce to him.”
Even before tip-off, Stevens pointed out how Monroe came in for individual work on Tuesday with some of the team’s younger players and looked really good.
“You could kind of see he was going to have a real good impact when he got in tonight,” Stevens said.
Monroe, who came in averaging 5.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in six games with Boston, also benefited from what the Celtics knew would be an expanded role for him on Wednesday.
Daniel Theis, one of Boston’s top backup big men this season, was going to be out because of a sore right hamstring injury.
Normally Theis is the first big man off the Celtics bench.
So when Stevens said prior to the game that the bulk of Theis’ minutes would go to Monroe, the opportunity for Monroe to have his best game as a Celtic was obvious.
And having played against Boston for years, Monroe knows what Celtics fans are looking for from all the players donning the Green and White.
“I know what these fans expect out of the team and this team has been playing at a high level,” Monroe said. “I just wanted to come in and, like I’ve been saying, just try to enhance what they already got going. It’s just been tough for me getting a rhythm, especially with my situation this year. But it felt good to get some extended minutes, actually get out there, get into the flow of the game and just try to be as effective as possible.”