Hunter ready to take advantage of minutes with Young out


LAS VEGAS – A player goes down, someone gets a chance to step up. It has been that way for as long as R.J. Hunter has played basketball.

That’s why, while disappointed that teammate James Young (hip) won’t play tonight, he understands how this may create more playing time for him.

And for a rookie on a roster that’s loaded with guards, every opportunity to play can’t be taken for granted.

“That’s how it is,” Hunter told “It happens throughout the season. The thing is now, you have to maximize every chance you get. That just means more focus for me, more attention to detail.”

Hunter was certainly locked in the last time he stepped on the court.

It was in the Utah Jazz Summer League on Thursday when he scored 18 points in helping Boston to an 85-71 win over San Antonio.

Hunter’s solid game also included a perfect 4-for-4 on 3s.

Even before his shooting struggles (he missed his first eight shots), Hunter said his confidence remained high.

Part of that has to do with playing for Brad Stevens who recruited him in high school and remained close to the Hunter family even after he turned down Butler to play for his father at Georgia State.

It would not be all that surprising if Hunter had some jitters about playing for Stevens who knows his game better than any other NBA coach.

“It’s actually just the opposite,” Hunter said. “I feel more calm around him because he knows me and he knows my game. That takes the pressure off of everything I’m doing.”

Which is why he’s not overly excited or anxious about tonight’s game, one in which he will likely get even more minutes than usual.

“I’m just going to go out, try to play good defense and just let the game flow and come to me,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll get some good looks like I did in Salt Lake and knock a few down.”

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