Alan Anderson hasn't played a second for the Wizards this season as he recovers from left ankle surgery. But his wisdom leading into Saturday's game vs. the Orlando Magic about their defensive lapses was one factor in helping them regain some of their identity. And what he told Kris Humphries during the action sparked him to have a career performance with a season-high 23 points that included five three-pointers.
"Alan Anderson was yelling during the game, 'Put it down. Go to the rack. They can't move their feet.' I was like OK, maybe I won't settle I'll just put it down and go," said Humphries, who used his dribble to escape charging defenders for two dunks and set the stage for his dramatic shots in the fourth quarter in what became a 108-99 win. "Was able to get a couple dunks like that. You just got to look at what the defense is doing and make adjustments."
Humphries entered with 6:42 left and the Wizards (4-4) trailing 88-86. He hit his third three-pointer for a 92-90 lead soon after and his fourth at 3:23 that extended it to 97-91. Then Humphries hustled down the court to deny Tobias Harris a shot at the rim with his second blocked shot.
"He was big. Shot it with confidence and didn't turn them down," said coach Randy Wittman. "He missed a couple early in the first quarter that were pretty good looks, but he kept going."
After being a mid-range, face-up shooter off the bench for most of his career who gets his baskets on putbacks and offensive rebounds, Humphries has had to remake himself. He's the starting "stretch" power forward now. At times, he would try to shoot off the dribble which isn't when he's best. In those situations, he needs to keep the ball moving so someone else gets a higher-percentage look.
"When he gets time to set his feet, he can make them," said point guard John Wall, who fed Humphries for two of his fourth-quarter treys and finished with 11 assists. "It’s just the other ones he’s taking sometimes we talk about.”
Humphries, who turned pro in 2004 had just made two three-pointers in his career coming into this season, was 5-for-8. He more than double his previous season high of 11 points.
"I just got good looks. Been working on it. Let it go. I think the last two I hit, guys were closing out so I just tried to get them up in the air," he said. "It's been different this year just being on the perimeter this much. I don't think I've completely made the transition yet. I still like to figure out how I can get my rebound numbers up. ... When things become second nature it's easier to play hard and be aggressive."