Greg Monroe’s triple-double lifts Celtics over Bulls 111-104
In its 111-104 win over the Chicago on Friday night, Boston showed that at the very least it has a remaining group of players eager to step up and contribute to its injury-torn rotation.
Greg Monroe came off the bench and had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to notch his second career triple-double. Jaylen Brown finished with a career-high 32 points as the Celtics stopped a two-game slide.
It was Boston’s first game since Kyrie Irving was ruled out for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs because of an upcoming surgery on his left knee.
”Guys were resting, guys are hurt,” Monroe said. ”I guess (the offense) was running through me by default, I guess. But it was just about moving the ball.”
Coach Brad Stevens said his message to the team afterward was that ”everything matters” from this point forward.
Chicago led by as many as 11 in the first half before Boston trimmed it to 58-55 at the half. The Celtics outscored the Bulls 56-46 over the final two quarters.
”I thought we went out there and played really hard and put ourselves in a position to be there right at the end,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Stevens said the effort of younger players such as Jabari Bird (career-high 15 points) and new addition Jonathan Gibson (nine points) is most encouraging. Gibson, 30, was officially signed out of the Chinese Basketball Association via an injury hardship waiver earlier in the day. He took a red-eye flight to make it in time for tip-off.
”I was triple-teamed all year, coming out here and being open and being the floor spacer and being able to create for other guys was definitely a great opportunity for me,” he said.
Bulls: Had a three-game winning streak snapped. … Went 14 of 30 from the 3-point line.
Celtics: Monroe is the first Celtics center to record a triple-double since Robert Parish did it on March 29, 1987. … Bird made his first career 3-pointer in the first quarter. In his first nine career NBA games he had just five points on 1-of-4 shooting. In the first 8 minutes on Friday he scored 11 points, connecting on 5 of his first 8 field goals.
Stevens said the plan over Boston’s final three regular-season games is give other players rest as well before the start of the playoffs.
”I’d like to get one, possibly two games with our group as is to play before we head in,” Stevens said. ”We’ll manage that as we move forward. Knock on wood.”
Stevens said Irving was ”bummed” after his decision to have his latest procedure, which is scheduled for Saturday. It will be his second surgery on the knee in a month, and will remove screws at the site of an infection.
Terry Rozier said Irving was in good spirits when he spoke with teammates.
”It wasn’t affecting him at all. And if it was we wouldn’t know because he’s that type of type of guy he is,” Rozier said. ”He’s still joking. … He’s still making everybody laugh when you come in the room. So you can’t really tell.”
Irving’s long-term prognosis is good, Stevens said.
”The structure of the knee is good. Everything around the knee is good,” Stevens said. ”Everybody’s told us from the get-go that it was going to be a full recovery. We just didn’t anticipate having to take the screws out. But that shouldn’t affect him at all as far as a full recovery goes.”
Bulls: Host Nets on Saturday.
Celtics: Host Hawks on Sunday.
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