BOSTON — Cole Aldrich is in his fourth NBA season, and found himself somewhere he had never been before on Wednesday night - in the starting lineup.
The New York Knicks, who were without four of their top front-court players, had little choice but to give the former first-round pick his first NBA start.
And to his credit, Aldrich made the most of the opportunity with a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds in a 116-92 victory over Boston.
After the game, teammates jokingly referred to him as "Cole Stoudemire" and "Cole Chandler," a play off the last names of the team's usual starters in the frontcourt, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler who were both out on Wednesday.
"It's not about me. It's not about what we did today," Aldrich said. "It's about the whole team and what we're doing lately."
The Knicks (26-40) have now won five in a row, although all five wins have come against teams with a losing record who are currently not in playoff position.
Aldrich's path to starting on Wednesday has certainly not been the road many expected when he was selected with the 11th pick in the 2010 NBA draft.
After two years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he was part of the James Harden trade to Houston in 2012.
Aldrich was once again the move just a few months later in February of 2013 when he was traded to Sacramento along with Toney Douglas and Patrick Patterson.
This past fall, he signed with the Knicks, where his role has been limited to non-existent.
Because of that, Aldrich acknowledges keeping sharp physically and mentally can be a bit trying at times.
"That's what you have to do as a professional; staying ready and whenever you're name is called, whether it's the middle of the game or today I started, come off playing and trying to find a way to get a win."
Aldrich's performance remind Knicks head coach Mike Woodson of how his team played last season when they advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
"You know when a guy goes down another guy, the next guy in line steps in and he plugs right in, keeps it flowing, keeps things flowing in the right direction," Woodson said.
That was relatively easy for Aldrich who came in with one thing in mind, which was to do his job.
"I know my job, to come in, rebound the ball, block shots and run the floor," Aldrich said. "And finish when given the opportunity to."