BOSTON – Greg Monroe was pleased with his play in Boston’s 111-104 win against Chicago, a game in which the 6-foot-10 center had a triple-double of 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
But it didn’t really sink in how rare a feat it was until he was told the last Celtics center to tally a triple-double was Hall of Famer Robert Parish who did it in 1987.
“When you mention it in the same breath, up there, that caliber it’s an honor,” Monroe said. “What he did as a player is unbelievable and one of the greatest players to ever play this game, obviously one of the greatest Celtics ever.”
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Now Monroe has a long, long way to go before you can compare his body of work in the NBA with Parish’s play.
But for one night, Monroe pushed all the right buttons to finish with his second career triple-double.
“I thought Greg was really good in the seams,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “That’s one of the things he does best, is pass the ball.”
And with all the injuries the Celtics are dealing with especially in the backcourt, Monroe’s play-making will be a major plus for Boston in the playoffs which start next weekend.
Stevens said part of Monroe’s success stemmed from how the Bulls were defending Boston’s guards.
“We knew they were going to blitz pick-and-rolls; they have, they’ve been pretty successful at taking the ball out of guard’s hands and I thought our guards did a good job of getting it to the bigs, and then it’s the bigs’ responsibility to make the play.”
While Monroe was obviously connecting more with his teammates passing the ball than usual, it’s not like dishing the rock is something that’s foreign to him.
“I think people can see that I’m a good passer,” Monroe said. “That is something I’ve always taken pride in and something I like doing.”
No player seemed to benefit more from Monroe’s passing game, than Jabari Bird.
Bird, signed to a two-way contract by Boston this season, tallied a career-high 15 points with a lot of his baskets coming by sprinting along the baseline with Monroe finding him in stride for a lay-up or dunk.
“I’ve been doing a lot of watching and Greg, he’s a great passer,” Bird said. “I just had a feeling if I ran along the baseline he would see me. He did a great job of finding me and got me a few easy buckets.”
And going forward, Stevens believes Monroe will continue to make the most of his opportunities and deliver in a big way when his number is called.
“If he’s going to play a lot of minutes, he’s going to probably get a double-double for sure,” Stevens said. “But the way that they were playing, again, it was going to open up opportunities, and then it’s a matter of picking out the right pass. And he did more often than not.”