NBA Basketball

Tired Celtics rejuvenated by Monroe before facing Pacers

BOSTON -- It will be a tired group of Boston Celtics that hosts the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.

While the Pacers, who haven't played since Monday, relaxed in their Boston hotel Thursday night, the Celtics started their game in Washington at 8 p.m. for national television -- and then had to go to overtime to dispose of the Wizards.

Such is life in the NBA.

Boston's win Thursday was its fifth in the last six games and came in the Celtics debut of Greg Monroe. The big man signed with his new team earlier in the day and logged 20 minutes. He had five points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and was a plus-9 while also earning his first Celtics technical foul (three minutes into his debut).

"It's just incredible that Brad (coach Stevens) has more weapons to work with now," Kyrie Irving said after scoring 12 of his team's last 17 points (28 total) in Thursday night's win. "So we'll see how it works out going forward."

Before the game, Monroe said his decision of where to spend the rest of the season came down to two teams.

"I was considering (the Pelicans)," Monroe said. "As soon as the buyout was open, I was analyzing all my options.

"Obviously, I want to wish a speedy recovery to (injured Pelicans big man) DeMarcus (Cousins). He went down and obviously they had a need there at my position. I definitely analyzed going there. It's home for me, so it was definitely a tough decision. But it was hard to pick against here."

The Celtics (40-16) have won their last six games against the Pacers, two of them this season -- both in Indianapolis.

The Pacers (30-25) had their game at New Orleans on Wednesday postponed by a wet floor caused by a leaky roof. They have lost two of their last three but are 6-3 in their last nine.

Victor Oladipo, who missed his team's loss to Washington on Monday night because of illness, was ready to play the game that wasn't played Wednesday. He scored 38 points (14 in the fourth quarter) in a 112-111 loss to the Celtics Dec. 18 and comes in averaging 24 points per game for the season.

Indiana remains without starting point guard Darren Collison (knee) while the Celtics are still without Marcus Smart (lacerated hand).

Both teams were quiet at Thursday's trade deadline, with the only move by either of them being the Celtics adding Monroe.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan said he didn't think the deadline -- and rumors -- was a distraction for his team.

"I haven't said anything to our guys about it," he said. "They seem to be OK."

Said Stevens: "It was probably the least amount of time that I was paying attention to it or on the phone over these days in five years."

Irving, asked to react to the series of moves made by his old team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, said after Thursday's game, "I'm in Boston."

The Celtics, who will retire Paul Pierce's No. 34 in a ceremony following Sunday's game with the rebuilt Cavs, could add another player when other contracts are bought out. There was speculation they are interested in bringing Joe Johnson (traded from Utah on Thursday and expected to be bought out by the Sacramento Kings) back to where he started his NBA career.

Updated February 9, 2018

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