Greg Monroe gave the Boston Celtics one of the most special performances of the season with triple double against the Bulls
The Boston Celtics are were officially set in stone as the number two seed, so they decided to rest both Jayson Tatum and Al Horford in a meaningless game against the Chicago Bulls. The Celtics are clearly gearing up to make sure everything is focused on the playoffs, but do not tell that to the players on the court.
They got another improbable victory, although it was against a bottom dwelling tanking team this time. In that win, we got a career night from Jaylen Brown, who was handed the keys to the team with 32 points and seven three pointers, Jonathan Gibson brought a great spark in his debut, and we got the single most unlikely stat line of the season, with Greg Monroe coming off the bench and notching a triple double.
Yes, that is a backup center, with a skill set that limits him almost exclusively to the paint, getting a triple double, not with blocks but with assists. Monroe is the first center to record a triple double for the Celtics since Robert Parish, but there is no doubt that this was the most unlikely one we have seen in the history of the franchise, and maybe beyond that.
Monroe was brought in to be a tough rebounder who could do some damage in the paint, they never expected him to have the kind of versatile impact that is usually reserved for Horford on this roster.
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It appears as though Brad Stevens might be onto something with these bigs that can pass, because Monroe was able to instigate and looked as comfortable as possible, despite being a part of a roster that has G Leaguers and someone debuting from China.
Even in the most meaningless game of the season, the Celtics still managed to make it exciting, and the excitement for the first round has somehow continues to grow. Monroe is making it clear that he can be an integral part of this team, and he is going to do anything that is needed.
Monroe looked like the kind of player that would be completely locked into his role. He is a veteran, who knows what he can do and how to do it. This ind of triple double has never even been close to his radar, but I guess that is what happens when Stevens gets his hands on you and unleashes a new role.
In his entire career, Monroe has never averaged more than 3.5 assists, and has a career average of 2.3. He has never been an instigator with his passing, and the moment Stevens asked him to take on that role in place of a resting Horford, he responded with one of the most remarkable stat lines you will ever see.
Time and time again Stevens works magic with whatever players are on the court, but this game brought it to another level. Decimated by injuries, with two top players resting, he still got the absolute best out of everyone, and saw a career night from the two most prominent players in that game.
Once Horford is back, Stevens will never ask Monroe to play this ind of role again, but this is still another reason to get excited about the playoffs. Monroe might end up being the biggest beneficiary of these injuries, because he is going to be one of the most important players coming off the bench, that will leave his mark on every single game.
If Stevens believes that Monroe can keep up this kind of distribution, it could transform what the bench is able to do. We know that Terry Rozier is going to be leading the starting unit the rest of the way, but so much offense is still going to be generated through Horford’s facilitating.
If Monroe can bring that same kind of facilitation from the same position but coming off the bench, the Celtics will have something that no team is prepared for, because Monroe dishing out assists like this and having this kind of a complete game is not something anyone will be prepared for.