BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics will be without three starters on Saturday night in Detroit as Kris Humphries is the latest scratch due to right knee tendonitis.
Humphries started Friday's 111-102 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, but played only 15 ½ minutes and did not start the second half. Humphries did not travel with the team and joins the backcourt tandem of Rajon Rondo (rest) and Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) on the inactive list for Saturday's tail end of a back-to-back against the Pistons.
The Celtics will have only nine available bodies for Saturday's game, two of which were healthy DNPs during Friday's loss in Chris Babb and Joel Anthony. Boston coach Brad Stevens admitted he was uncertain exactly how the team's lineup would look Saturday given the team's recent struggles.
"We started a little bit different at the start of the second half [on Friday]," said Stevens. "We changed [Humphries for Kelly Olynyk]. I didn’t think the start of the second half was great either. We’ll shake it up [Saturday] because Rondo is not playing. I think we just have to get guys playing to what they are capable of together. And it’s a lot more important that we’re all doing that. And I don’t know the exact answer to be quite candid. I don’t know exactly who to put in there to make that happen. I wish I did. But I don’t."
Bradley is eyeing a return on Wednesday, and Rondo is only out as a precaution on the second night of back-to-back as he works his way back from ACL surgery.
HAPPY HOMECOMING FOR MCW:
Michael Carter-Williams, a Hamilton native, scored a game-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting with six rebounds and six assists over 34 minutes during Friday's win.
Rondo offered about the highest compliment you can pluck from Boston's captain after a loss when he noted that, Carter-Williams, "played well."
Carter-Williams was asked about playing against Rondo.
"He's a great player. He passes the ball, does all the little things out there," said Carter-Williams. "We play somewhat similarly, he tries to get a lot of rebounds and make hustle plays. It’s great to see a guy like him and just to learn from him."
Thaddeus Young offered praise for his rookie teammate, noting how he often exploited matchups when the Celtics had smaller guards in the game.
"Like I said all season long, he’s been great for us," said Young. "He’s exceeded all expectations, going above and beyond. He’s been great for us. He’s going to continue to be great. He’s learning as he’s going and he’s incorporating each and every thing we try to teach him into his game. He’s learning where to pick apart defenses and where to take his shots from. I think tonight the biggest thing was he took advantage of all the smaller guards that were on him."
76ERS ARE ON A ROLL
Noted that his team had won two of its last four after tying an NBA record by losing 26 straight, Philadelphia first-year coach Brett Brown joked, "We’re on a roll!"
Truth be told, he's proud of his players considering the circumstances.
"My motivation, where I’m most proud of these guys, they stay together and they play," said Brown. "They bring their A effort more times then they don’t, they stay together, they cheer for each other. We have a nine-man rotation tonight, they’re in, they’re out, they play for one another and to look on a court at this stage of a year given the record that we’ve had and there’s six games left; I’m just so proud of their ability to play as a team and continue to do the right thing and have a true desire to get better."