BOSTON – Kris Humphries may have done more than just help the Boston Celtics to a hard-fought 106-98 win over Denver.
He may have helped himself to a more steady role in the Celtics' rotation.
Following the game, Boston head coach Brad Stevens was asked if Humphries' play was making it harder to take him out of the rotation when Kelly Olynyk (right ankle sprain) returns sometime next week.
"I'd say the answer to that is 'yes,'" Stevens said. "I don't know how that's all going to work itself out, but I have a lot of faith in Kris, and I have a lot of faith in Kelly."
And that faith in Humphries was rewarded on Friday with the veteran big man scoring a season-high 18 points, 12 of which came in the second half, and seven rebounds.
"You know it's just about playing a part," Humphries said. "It's not about me. It's about beating a very good team we really prepared for."
Humphries, acquired from Brooklyn in the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett trade with the Nets this summer, has seen his minutes fluctuate all season despite being one of the team's more consistent bigs in the preseason.
He never complained; never grumbled.
Instead, he continued to work towards making sure that when he was given an opportunity to play, he could prove his worth.
That preparation often involves staying after practice working on his game, along with rookies Phil Pressey and Kelly Olynyk (before he was hurt).
Following Friday's win, Humphries gave some credit to his "rook" - Pressey - for helping him stay prepared to play.
And the Celtics give a good dose of the credit for Friday's win to Humphries, who also played a season high 24 minutes.
Gerald Wallace came to Boston with Humphries in the Pierce-Garnett trade, so he knows him as well as anyone around here.
That's why he has been the least surprised in how Humphries has handled his role with the Celtics.
"That's just a true professional," Wallace said. "He knows he's not one of the key guys. He's not really in the rotation. But he's staying healthy; he's working out every day, keeping himself in great shape. It showed tonight."
But only time will tell if the Humphries on display tonight will have many more opportunities in the coming future.
"I've got a lot of faith in all five bigs," Stevens said. "We talked about that before, but the bottom line is I guess when you look across the league it seems every team we play has one of their bigs out. So to have five of them that are all really ... compliment each other, that gives you the flexibility of four being available on a given night, that's pretty good. But when we do have all five available, I don't know how that's going to work itself out."