Humphries making the most of recent opportunity

Humphries making the most of recent opportunity
December 30, 2013, 6:00 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — With 4:49 to play in the first quarter of Saturday's game against Cleveland, the unexpected happened -- Kris Humphries was on the court for the Celtics.

It was a pleasant surprise for Humphries who, as he has done all season, made the most of his opportunity to play in helping Boston to a 103-100 win.

Even more surprising was in the game's final seconds, clinging to a two-point lead, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens brought him back in for defensive purposes.

"I'm always working on my defense," said Humphries who had 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting against Cleveland.

It appears to be paying off as Humphries has gone from a seldom-used big man off the bench, to one of the first reserve big men.

In the month of November, he appeared in 13 games with five DNPs (did not play - coaches decision). When he did play, he averaged 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game while shooting 46.8 percent from the field.

It has been Hump Day just about every time he has played in December with the 6-foot-9 veteran averaging 8.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game while shooting 61.8 percent from the field.

He has appeared in all but two games this month. But his absence in those two games was due to a knee injury.

Even before he started playing Humphries more consistently, Stevens praised Humphries for not allowing his inconsistent role to affect his preparation.

"His ability to stay in shape both mentally and physically, and his professionalism is a huge role (in staying ready)," Stevens said. "And he's played really well. As much as you try to evaluate all that other stuff, the bottom line is he's played well when he gets into the game."

But the biggest surprise of late has been Stevens turning to Humphries for defensive purposes.

In Boston's win over the Cavs, Stevens substituted Humphries in with 19 seconds to play in place of Jared Sullinger.

"He's becoming a better defender," Stevens said. "He's much more versatile defender than I realized early. It's been a great thing for our team. I'm excited for him. He just waited for his opportunity."

And that opportunity is paying off handsomely for both Humphries and the Celtics.