At one point during Saturday's loss, Boston Celtics forward Kris Humphries had so enraged DeMarcus Cousins that the Sacramento Kings' volatile big man probably should have been tossed from the game.
He wasn't, and that's in part why steely cool Brad Stevens (and Gerald Wallace) were ejected soon after. But let's keep the focus on Humphries.
Making a spot start in place of Jared Sullinger (out with a concussion), Humphries turned in a gritty 36½ minutes, most of which were spent riling up Cousins with good old-fashioned grit and physicality.
After Cousins went for 31 points and 16 rebounds during the teams' first meeting in Boston, Humphries limited one of the league's more talented young big men to 13 points and seven rebounds over 34 minutes. Humphries clearly got under Cousins' skin by refusing to back down to his physical play.
Late in the first half, Cousins confronted Humphries between free throws, leading to double technicals when Humphries shoved Cousins back toward the opposite blocks. Humphries didn't let that faze him, refusing to budge to a player that leads the NBA with 13 technical fouls.
And that's part of the reason why Humphries has become so revered this season. Those who previously judged him solely from his reality TV cameos -- or last season's dust-up with Rajon Rondo that left Boston's point guard suspended -- have reversed course based on his work ethic and style of play.
Every team needs a player like Humphries. Boston's logjam at the power forward spot has made it difficult at times to carve out consistent minutes, but Humphries' effort has never wavered. With a team-high $12 million contract, he'd be a lightning rod if it weren't for how hard he works during games (and after practice with younger players), doing all he can to provide a quality veteran presence despite an uncertain future.