Humphries once again proves he's ready when called

Humphries once again proves he's ready when called
December 16, 2013, 11:45 pm
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BOSTON — When Kelly Olynyk returned to the Boston Celtics lineup, Kris Humphries' role was the same as it ever was - undefined.

But one thing is clear.

The unpredictability of his playing time has been embraced by Humphries as he continues to make the most of every chance he gets to step on the floor.

And on Monday, his play off the bench was among the many keys to Boston's 101-97 win over Minnesota.

Humphries, who split time off the bench with Olynyk, had eight points and seven rebounds in just over 21 minutes.

But more than anything, he gave the Celtics some solid play defensively while Brandon Bass was in foul trouble most of the second half.

"I was just ready to play," said Humphries who missed two games due to a knee injury. "I took advantage of an opportunity."

You might as well put those comments from Humphries on a perpetual loop because every time he plays, that's essentially what happens.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens acknowledges that trying to carve out minutes for all his big men, not just Humphries, is never easy.

"I think having all five guys may be a tough juggling act," Stevens said. "But it's also an advantage to be able to throw five different guys in with five different skill sets."

But of the five big men on the Celtics roster - Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger, Olynyk, Humphries and Vitor Faverani - Humphries and Faverani are probably the two whose playing time is most erratic.

However, Faverani's inconsistent minutes are in large part due to him being a typical up-and-down playing rookie.

But Humphries has been solid whenever he has been called upon, something that is not lost on Stevens.

"My admiration for guys usually goes to the guys that don't get opportunities because they have to deal with stuff that's harder than being the guy that plays the minutes," Stevens said. "And so, you know, I thoroughly respect those guys that are sitting. And when their time comes, nobody's rooting harder for them than me for them to take advantage of it."

Which is exactly what Humphries has been doing all season.

And while he makes it look as though it's not that big a challenge, he readily admits it can be trying at times.

"That's the hardest thing in the NBA," Humphries said. "Being ready to play, staying ready mentally, physically, all those things."

He has proven to be up for the challenge, doing it with a high level of consistency even when his playing time isn't.