Greg Monroe’s admission sums up Celtics’ brutal loss to Timberwolves

Greg Monroe’s admission about Wolves sums up Celtics’ brutal loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Who played the game of his life off the bench to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a comeback win over the Boston Celtics? One of his teammates was wondering the same thing.

Backup guard Jaylen Nowell, who entered Monday’s game averaging under 10 minutes per night, dropped a career-high 29 points in 34 minutes to help the undermanned Wolves erase an 11-point halftime deficit and win 108-103.

So surprising was Nowell’s performance that new teammate Greg Monroe — who arrived to Minnesota four hours before tipoff on a hardship exception contract — had never heard of him before Monday night.

“I’m not gonna lie: Jaylen Nowell played awesome tonight. I didn’t know who he was,” Monroe told reporters. “I think he played awesome, but that was my first time seeing him.”

With Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, D’Angelo Russell, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt and several others all in health and safety protocols, the shorthanded Wolves turned to players like Nowell, Nathan Knight and Monroe — who hadn’t played in an NBA game since May 2019.

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Monroe’s final stat line against the Celtics: 11 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.

The Celtics were down several players as well, including leading scorer Jayson Tatum, point guard Marcus Smart and six others. But to get torched by an NBA no-name and a big man who hadn’t played in the league in two years is a pretty tough look.

“A team that is as depleted as we are just outhustled us late in the game,” Boston head coach Ime Udoka said after the game. “It was a very undisciplined effort overall.”

The Celtics will look aim get back on track Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers — whose rookie guard Brandon Boston Jr. scored a career-high 27 points in a Clippers win the last time these teams met.