BOSTON (CBS) — The newest member of the Celtics made his debut on Thursday night, and it didn’t take long for him to look comfortable in a Boston uniform.
After spending a week working out at the team’s practice facilities and just a few hours after officially signing with the C’s, big man Greg Monroe put on his green No. 55 jersey for the first time as Boston took on the Wizards in Washington DC. The 27-year-old played 20 minutes off the bench, contributing to a 110-104 overtime win with five points, six rebounds and two assists.
Monroe checked in with 3:15 left in the first quarter and picked up a technical foul just a few minutes into his Boston career. He missed his first three shots before scoring his first bucket as a Celtic on a nice three-point play in the post. Head coach Brad Stevens felt confident enough in his new player to have him out there for 11 straight minutes in his first game action since Jan. 29.
“I felt good; it felt good out there,” Monroe told reporters after Boston’s overtime win in Washington. “I just gotta get in the rhythm. I haven’t played in a while, but as far as getting up and down and everything, I felt good.”
Monroe hadn’t practiced with the team before making his debut, and admitted that he doesn’t have the Celtics playbook down just yet. But he doesn’t sound too worried about picking things up on the go.
“I don’t think it will take long,” he said confidently. “I think that I’ll get comfortable with the plays and familiar with the calls, so it’s just about me getting into my own rhythm and then figuring out how to help this team with my skills.”
Monroe finished 2-for-5 from the floor and 1-for-3 at the free throw line, still showing some signs of rust after his long layoff. But his addition allowed Stevens to show off a few new lineups on Thursday night, including a big lineup that is rarely featured anymore in today’s NBA. Stevens trotted out a lineup of Terry Rozier at point guard, Jayson Tatum at shooting guard, Marcus Morris at small forward, Daniel Ties at power forward and Monroe at center. That unit was able to give Boston some production on both ends of the floor without Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, something the team has struggled with this season.
Monroe is still getting used to life on his new team but as he gets more and more comfortable, he should turn into a valuable asset off the Boston bench.