Friday night, one of the forgotten pieces of the enormous trade that
sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston to Brooklyn, made his
patience pay off.
Playing a season-high 24 minutes, the forward scored a season-high
18 points and seven rebounds, adding two assists and a blocked shots
as the Celtics — the first-place Boston Celtics — defeated the
Denver Nuggets 106-98.
"I've been around him for 2 1/2 years, the one thing about him is
he's always going to be ready," said forward Gerald Wallace, who
also came over from Brooklyn in the mega deal.
Humphries, averaging 4.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game coming in,
helped the Celtics to a 27-point first-half lead then helped again
when the Nuggets shot back to within three points in the third
quarter. He had three straight Boston baskets and four in the final
four minutes of the third quarter.
"It feels great," said Humphries, who was 8-for-11 from the floor.
"You know, you practice and practice, you cheer your team on and
everyone in this spot wants to contribute, and everyone in here can
contribute. So when you get your opportunity, you have to make the
most of it."
Said rookie Boston coach Brad Stevens: "It's easy to be the guy
talking about it, it's easy to be the guy that is paying attention
to it, it's hard to be the guy going through it ... You're going to
have guys that have to step up at different times and Kris is
The Celtics scored the first 14 points of the game and never
trailed. Boston's fifth win in the last seven games improved the
record to 9-12. That's a first-place record in the Atlantic, folks.
Guard Jordan Crawford scored 22 points and added eight assists and
four rebounds to lead five Celtics in double figures. Guard Avery
Bradley also had 18 points, including 15 in the first half, and
forwards Jeff Green and Brandon Bass scored 15 and 14 points,
respectively. Bass also had eight rebounds.
The loss was Denver's second straight after a seven-game winning
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Rookie coach Brian Shaw knew something was wrong right at the
start — a 14-0 hole will cue a coach on such things.
"I took a 20-second timeout very, very early in the first
quarter because I felt it and I could sense and see it, but it
didn't do any good," said Shaw, a former Celtic. "We still
continued to play with that kind of laid-back, casual attitude.
"Their team is a lot like ours. They don't have a superstar on
their team, we don't have a superstar on our team. But the team
that plays hardest is going to give them a better chance to win,
and that's what they did tonight from beginning to end, and
that's why they won the game."
Guard Ty Lawson led six Nuggets in double figures with 20
"We can't start the way we start and let teams get too
comfortable, because that kind of dictates the game," said JJ
Hickson, a forward playing center who had 17 points and seven
rebounds in the loss.
After scoring 39 points in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's
win over Milwaukee, the Celtics scored 39 points in the first
quarter Friday night, opening the game by shooting 7-for-9 in
the 14-0 run. They were 17-for-26 from the floor in the quarter,
turning the ball over just once (five times in the first half,
10 in the game).
NOTES: Denver G Nate Robinson, a former Celtic, was fined
$25,000 by the NBA for comments he made about officials after
getting a technical foul in New York on Nov. 29. According to
the Denver Post, Robinson said, "They hate me, they hate me. I
don't know why, but it is what it is. I already know I've got
the target on my back, but I'll play through it. I don't care. I
really don't. It doesn't bother me none." ... Celtics rookie F/C
Kelly Olynyk missed his seventh straight game with a right ankle
sprain but is close to returning. "He'll probably be out Sunday
(in New York against the Knicks). He'll be day-to-day starting
next week," Stevens said before the game. "Tuesday might be a
stretch, it might not be. I don't know. But he's close to being
back." ... The Nuggets finish their six-game road trip at
Philadelphia on Saturday and Washington on Monday. ... The
Celtics observed a pre-game moment of silence for Nelson
Mandela. ... After the two games in New York, the Celtics host
their old coach, Doc Rivers, and the Los Angeles Clippers on
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