The Denver Nuggets coaching staff likely handed their players a scouting report today that had the name “Sullinger” all over it. Jared Sullinger has been a key to the Celtics’ recent surge, and Denver needed to slow him down in order to win Friday night’s matchup with Boston.
The Nuggets did a pretty solid job of accomplishing that goal. The problem is, they forgot about Kris Humphries.
Humphries looked like the 2011-12 version of himself on Friday, the one who ranked 10th in the league with 29 double-doubles. He didn’t notch a double-double on Friday, but he did drop in 18 points and seven rebounds off of the bench. One-third of those points were scored at the most critical junction of the game.
The Celtics, who led by as many as 27 points in the contest, saw their lead drop all the way down to three points after Randy Foye dropped in two free throws with 4:12 remaining in the third.
The pressure was officially on for Boston, and it needed key buckets. It wound up looking in an unfamiliar direction to a player who has received minimal playing time thus far in the season.
“In the second half it was our bench that got us back out to a lead,” Brad Stevens said, “and Kris was a big part of that.”
A big part? More like the biggest part.
Humphries delivered six consecutive points for Boston following Foye’s free throws. That stretch included two midrange jumpers and one layup off of a Brandon Bass dish. Denver left the big man open, and he wasn’t going to let those open looks go to waste.
“Kris is a very, very reliable midrange jump shooter and he continues to make them for us,” Stevens said.
Humphries made them Friday night, and he made them during critical moments. He may be the biggest reason why the Celtics grabbed their fifth win in seven games by downing Denver 106-98.
Rest assured that when the Knicks look at their scouting report for Sunday’s matchup against Boston, the name “Humphries” will be printed right alongside “Sullinger.”
Key Box Score Line
Is Jordan Crawford becoming an unstoppable force for the Boston Celtics? The Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets would certainly answer that question with a ‘yes.’
Crawford followed up a 25-point performance against the Bucks on Tuesday by yet again leading the game in scoring. His 22-point game against the Nuggets on Friday was a driving force to yet another win for the division-leading Boston Celtics.
As difficult as it may have seemed prior to Friday’s game, Crawford may have been even better in this one than he was on Tuesday. On top of his 22 points, which were scored via a ridiculously efficient 9-for-13 shooting performance, Crawford also dished out a game-high eight assists. Those eight helpers matched the total amount of assists that Denver’s entire starting five dished out. Crawford did this all while committing just two turnovers and chipping in four rebounds.
The Steez, which is Crawford’s term for his on-court personality, is officially in take-over mode. Milwaukee and Denver had no answers for it, and Boston’s future opponents may not, either.
Box Score Nuggets
- Four Celtics scored at least 14 points, led by Jordan Crawford's 22.
- Boston led from start to finish.
- Three of Denver's reserves scored in double-figures.
- Boston totaled just 37 rebounds.
- Bass led the C's in boards with eight.
- Denver got to the line for 29 free throw attempts and cashed in on 24 of them.
- Crawford's eight assists tied the assist total of Denver's entire starting five.
- Crawford (9-of-13), Avery Bradley (8-of-11) and Kris Humphries (8-of-11) combined to shoot 25-of-35 (71.4 percent) from the floor.
- Bass tied his career high in assists with four and also blocked three shots.
- Denver totaled just 11 assists on 34 baskets.
- Neither team committed more than 14 turnovers.
- Kris Humphries logged 18 points and seven rebounds and finished with a plus/minus of plus-25 in 34 minutes of action.
Quote of the Night
To have five of them that all really, really complement each other, that gives you the flexibility of four being available on a given night. That's pretty good. Brad Stevens on the depth he has in the frontcourt with several talented big menMore quotes >>