Greg Monroe seizes his opportunity to make an impact for the Celtics

Greg Monroe seizes his opportunity to make an impact for the Celtics

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.

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.”


Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

File Photo

Isaiah Thomas isn't ruling out return to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas back in green? Maybe there's a chance after all.

The former Celtics guard, now with the Lakers, started a Q&A session on Twitter and was asked whether he'd consider returning to Boston this offseason. This was his answer...

That's not a no.

Thomas has had a rough go of it since leaving the Celtics. His brief tenure in Cleveland didn't go according to plan, and things haven't gotten a whole lot better out in L.A. The 29-year-old is averaging 15.3 points per game just a year after averaging 28.9 with Boston.

Let the speculation begin.


Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Horford not making any excuses after C's rough outing vs Pelicans

Al Horford understands that there’s plenty of blame pie to go around following Boston’s 108-89 loss to New Orleans. 

Considering how Pelicans stud Anthony Davis dominated the game on so many levels Sunday night, Horford was quick to acknowledge his role in the loss. 

“He (Davis) was able to get behind our defense a lot,” Horford told reporters after the loss. “Some mistakes on my end; gotta give him credit. He dominated tonight. I’ll definitely take the blame for that.”

Davis finished with a double-double of 34 points and 11 rebounds, a total that would have been higher if not for the game being so lopsided which allowed Davis to head to the bench early in the fourth. 

MORE - Blakely's stars, studs, and duds from C's-Pelicans

And Horford’s struggles defensively were just as problematic on offense as the five-time All-Star tallied just six points on 3-for-11 shooting to go with four rebounds and three assists. 

Boston has been a team whose collective sums have fueled their success. 

But Horford understands he has to be a high impact performer, a job that’s even more vital when key starters like Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) are out as well as top reserves Marcus Smart (right thumb) and Daniel Theis (torn meniscus). 

And by Horford’s own admission, he just didn’t bring it on Sunday at a level to give him and the Celtics a legit shot at winning the game.

“Defensively we had too many breakdowns,” Horford said. “And the game got away from us in the second half. So there’s no excuses. I didn’t give us a chance, either; missing a lot of looks offensively. I just need to be better.”

And he’ll have to be if Boston (47-23) is to get back on track with a win on Tuesday against a talented Oklahoma City squad led by Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. 

At full strength, the Thunder would be a significant challenge for the Celtics. 

But having a roster with a number of key players out with injuries, it becomes even more imperative for Boston’s top players to elevate their play. 

And as you scan this Celtics roster and examine those who are healthy enough to play, it’s clear that Horford more than any other Boston player, has to find a way to become more impactful.

Certainly, more points and rebounds would help. 

But as we’ve seen time and time again with Horford, often his greatest contributions to winning games don’t necessarily show up in the final box score. 

That being said, a six-point, four-rebound game doesn’t cut it. 

Horford has to be better, something he knows better than anyone. 

“I’ll definitely look at the film and see how I can be better individually,” Horford said. “The good thing about the NBA, is we have a chance to play on Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll learn from this game and be ready to go Tuesday at home.”