BOSTON — As Boston Celtics players were getting up shots prior to Friday's game against Atlanta, C's big man Shavlik Randolph was on the sideline stretching, trying to do what bench guys have to do every game - stay loose and be ready if called upon.
Was. He. Ever.
The seldom-used big man came up big for the Boston Celtics in a rousing 118-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Randolph had a near double-double of nine points and a career-high tying 13 rebounds while playing 21 minutes.
After the game, several media members were split between talking with head coach Doc Rivers in an interview room at the same time Paul Pierce was holding court inside the C's locker room.
So Randolph treated the post-game like he did any other post-game ... he got dressed and went home.
But that certainly didn't take away from the excitement he felt in helping the Celtics pull away for a much-needed victory over a team that they just might come across in the playoffs or potentially leap-frog in terms of playoff seeding because of Friday's win.
"It felt really good to be out there," Randolph told CSNNE.com in a phone interview after the game. "I felt if I went out there and played well in my time out there and the team's playing well, I felt good about being rewarded with more minutes."
Prior to the game, Randolph told CSNNE.com that he was hoping to give the Celtics "ten good minutes" against the Hawks.
But his play made that impossible.
He deserved more time than that, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers was more than willing to oblige.
"He does what he does," Rivers said of Randolph. "He's proven that he can rebound, and he mixes it up. I'm really, really happy for him."
Said Celtics guard Avery Bradley, "He (Randolph) was the player of the game."
And to think, that came on a night when Jeff Green had a game-high 27 points, Paul Pierce had a triple-double (his third this season, 10th of his career) and Jason Terry dropped 24 points off the bench.
While all those players had impressive statistics, there was no mistaking the impact of Randolph's energy and all-out hustle as being one of the most important factors in Boston's win which gave them the season series with the Hawks, three games to one.
"He did a lot of the dirty work," Pierce said. "He went in there and stuck his nose in there, in the middle. He was in the right position pretty much all night."
And that may position him for even more minutes than the 21 he played on Friday.
Randolph's approach when he signed his first 10-day contract with the Celtics was to stay ready when called upon. After they signed him to a second, 10-day contract and later for the rest of the season, his demeanor hasn't changed.
Don't expect that to change anytime soon.
"He understands who he is," Rivers said. "And he does it."
And that brand of basketball plays well with this Celtics team and the fans who began to cheer him on with every rebound and every hustle play in the second half.
"I honestly wasn't paying attention to that," said Randolph who acknowledged getting tired in the fourth quarter. "I was honestly focused on doing whatever I could, to help us win the game."
And a big part of that involves keeping himself loose and staying ready to play - and play well - when called upon.
"I know I'm here to just be available and when my chance to play comes, I'm just going to do what I think I do best and that's rebound, play defense and just bring energy. If I do that, I'm doing my job."