Celtics

Greg Monroe in uniform tonight for Celtics

boston-celtics-greg-monroe-20218.jpg
File Photo

Greg Monroe in uniform tonight for Celtics

WASHINGTON – Greg Monroe will be in uniform tonight for the Boston Celtics.

Whether he plays, remains to be seen.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens isn’t sure if the newest addition to the Celtics family will play against the Washington Wizards tonight.

But he is convinced adding the 6-foot-11 center can only help a Celtics team whose goals, much like their record, have steadily improved as the season wore on.

And the addition of Monroe addresses two of the team’s biggest needs: additional scoring and size.

“We’re excited to have Greg. He brings, a guy that can put the ball in the basket,” Stevens said. “Can play at the elbows, pass … he compliments who we have, well.”

Among those pleased with the addition of Monroe is Al Horford who has many battles with Monroe in the past.

“He’s a player you want to have on your side,” Horford said. “Greg’s ability to score the ball, rebound, is going to be great for us. He can really pass the ball as well. He’s just another guy that’s going to be huge for us, in what we’re trying to do once the playoffs start.”

Monroe became available after he reached a buyout with the Phoenix Suns.

The Celtics quickly came to terms on a one-year, $5 million deal with the eight-year veteran, but didn’t make it official until today because Boston wanted to maximize its flexibility leading up to today’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.

“He’s the kind of guy that I can’t believe fell through that way, for us to get him,” said Celtics big man Al Horford. “I feel like it’s gonna pay off for our group. He’s going to make our team better. It’s just a matter of time.”

Once the deadline came and the Celtics did not make a trade, they immediately made the Monroe deal official.

There were a handful of teams interested in Monroe, but the Celtics were in the best position to offer him more money than any other team as well as an opportunity to win at a high level.

“Once the buyout was done, it was just about seeing where I would be most comfortable,” Monroe said.

Boston (39-16) comes into tonight’s game against Washington with the best record in the Eastern Conference, third overall.

In Monroe’s search for a new team, it was clear that he was searching for a team whose style of play and system aligned with the things he has done well in past years.

And having been lit up repeatedly by Monroe when he was in Detroit and later Milwaukee, the Celtics were well-versed on how impactful Monroe’s game could be on a team’s defense.

Monroe, drafted by Detroit with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, understands what it’s like to be a player billed as the face of the franchise, and he understands what it’s like to be a role player.

Having that experience under his belt will help him adapt to what’s likely to be a series of highs and lows during his time this season with the Celtics.

Monroe said his goal this season is pretty simple.

“Obviously, they’re playing at a very high level,” Monroe said. “I’m just trying to come in and enhance it any way I can.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics get back to work, but are thinking ahead

Celtics get back to work, but are thinking ahead

Earlier this week, Celtics big man Al Horford referred to the matchups following the All-Star break as “rehearsal games” for what really matters – the playoffs.

As important as it is to win, it’s even more vital to start building good habits at both ends of the floor, the things that become absolutely essential to a team’s pursuit of going deep into the playoffs.

And as much as the Celtics try to stick to the “one day at a time” mantra that all teams talk about incessantly, they are no different than most teams near the top of the standings.

They want to get to the playoffs and are well aware that how they handle themselves and grow in the coming weeks will have a major impact on their postseason success or struggles.

“I believe this is the time where you start doing this now in preparation for the playoffs,” said Jaylen Brown. “I remember with the group we had last year, everybody started making sacrifices mentally, physically, and prepared themselves for the long haul. And now you can see the same thing happening with this team. Especially physically, just knowing what we have to do to be a team that plays in the long, long end part of the season.”

HOMECOMING (OF SORTS) FOR HORFORD
Al Horford is proud of his Dominican Republic roots, but often it’s forgotten that he played his prep basketball in Michigan. The big man and his family moved to Michigan in 2000 where Horford played for Grand Ledge (Mich.) High School and become a four-star recruit before taking his talents to the University of Florida where he helped lead the Gators to back-to-back national championships.

Grand Ledge is about 90 minutes northwest of Detroit.

BAYNES FACTOR
Despite playing fewer minutes than any of Boston’s starters, there’s no getting around the impact Aron Baynes has had when he plays. This season, the Celtics have a defensive rating of 96.4 when he’s on the floor. That number jumpers to 103.5 for a team-best differential of 7.1.

CLOSE CALLS
Celtics fans definitely come away feeling they got their money’s worth when the Green Team plays most nights. This season, Boston has won a league-high five games by one point. The last time they had more one-point wins in a season was the 1995-96 season when they won six games by a single point. The franchise record of one-point victories (seven) was set in the 1981-82 season.

MORE BUCKETS FOR BROWN
When Jaylen Brown scores, good things tend to happen for the Celtics. This season, Boston is 8-1 when he scores at least 18 points.

KYRIE ON THE ROAD
Kyrie Irving loves to get baskets at the TD Garden, but has shown an ability to elevate his scoring even more on the road. His numbers in several categories are indeed better on the road than they are at home. He’s averaging 23.7 points at home, but that number increases to 25.8 on the road. His shooting on the road is a strong 50.3 percent, up from 46.8 at home. And from 3-point range, Irving connects at 42.8 percent rate on the road compared to just 36.6 percent at home.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 
 

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons

highlights_celtics_pistons.png
NBC Sports Boston illustration

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the Clippers at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 6:30  p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Familiar matchup, unfamiliar faces

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]