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.”


Anything is Podable podcast Episode 7: Bumpy playoff road through the East

Anything is Podable podcast Episode 7: Bumpy playoff road through the East

Episode 7 of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” podcast looks back at the playoff road the revitalized Celtics took to their first NBA Finals appearance since 1987. 

Boston breezed through the regular season winning 66 games, the third-most in team history. When the playoffs started, the road was not as easy. The Celtics found a surprisingly difficult test in the first round against a young Atlanta Hawks team.

"The crowd was like something I had never seen in Atlanta before," Paul Pierce said of the fans at Games 3 and 4 and 6 at Phillips Arena, where the Hawks beat the C's to force a Game 7 at TD Garden. 

Back at the Garden, order was restored, as it usually is for the Green at home in seventh games. "Game 7 was an absolute annihilation," said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. 

In the second round, the Cleveland Cavaliers and their young superstar, LeBron James, awaited. That also went seven. Pierce (41 points) and James (45) went toe-to-toe in one of the best Game 7 duels in NBA history. 

"That was one of the great games in the history of NBA basketball," said Ainge of the Celtics' 97-92 victory. 

When you've got a great player like LeBron anything can happen in a Game 7. He can be special and he was. Unfortunately for him, I was able to be special, too." 

The conference finals featured the changing of the guard in the East from the veteran Detroit Pistons. The Celtics overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to capture Game 6 on the road and head back to the Finals. 

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe here or through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.


Morris says Ainge, Stevens encouraged him to seek help for anxiety and depression

Morris says Ainge, Stevens encouraged him to seek help for anxiety and depression

Marcus Morris opened up about his mental health issues and says the Celtics were instrumental in encouraging him to seek help.

In the first part of Jackie MacMullan's series on the mental health stigma in the NBA, Paul Piece detailed his battle with depression after being stabbed at a nightclub in 2000. On Tuesday, the second part of MacMullan's series was published and included some eye-opening anecdotes from Morris, who dealt with anxiety and depression issues of his own.

Morris discussed he and his brother Markieff Morris' (currently on Wizards) rough childhoods growing up in North Philadelphia, and how their childhoods led to mental health issues later on in life.

“Honestly, I didn't feel like I could trust anybody -- not even the people in my neighborhood, who I knew my whole life,” Morris told ESPN. “We just walked out stressed all the time. I said to my brother once, 'You know, this is no way to live.'"

After being traded from the Suns to the Pistons in 2015, Morris began questioning whether professional basketball was really meant for him.

"I start asking myself, 'Is this for me?'" Morris told ESPN. "Growing up, I loved the game so much -- it was the only thing that made me happy. But now it's stressing me out. It's all negative. It's all business, and I'm having trouble with that. So you start flipping back and forth. The money is great, but is it good for me as a human? Shouldn't that matter more than anything?"

When Morris was traded again, this time to Boston, things changed for the better. GM Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens helped Morris get help, referring him to psychologist Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker.

"She has helped me so much," Morris told ESPN. "It may sound silly, but just closing my eyes in a dark room and breathing for 10 minutes a day helps me. I know lots of guys who are dealing with some kind of anxiety and depression -- not knowing if they have a job next season, not knowing if they're going to get traded. It's so stressful. Everyone is pulling at you. They want your time, your money, a piece of your fame...If you have depression, you should be trying to get rid of it instead of bottling it up and letting it weigh on you and weigh on you and weigh on you.”

You can read MacMullan's entire piece here.