Irv­ing is back as Celtics win again

Los Angeles Times - - NBA -


Kyrie Irv­ing re­ally dis­likes hav­ing to play in a mask.

On the other hand, he loves what comes next: Bos­ton putting its 13-game win­ning streak on the line against the NBA cham­pi­ons.

“It’s def­i­nitely an in­cred­i­ble streak we’re on, and now comes the whole me­dia frenzy of will the streak end, and what’s go­ing to hap­pen on Thurs­day and the Golden State War­riors com­ing to Bos­ton,” Irv­ing said. “So I’m look­ing for­ward to all that hoopla.”

Irv­ing re­turned to the lineup and scored 25 points while wear­ing the mask, and the vis­it­ing Celtics de­feated the Brook­lyn Nets 109-102 on Tues­day night to re­main un­beaten since an 0-2 start.

Mar­cus Morris added 21 points and 10 re­bounds for the Celtics, who have the NBA’s best record. Golden State is next at 11-3, and Bos­ton got good prepa­ra­tion for the game against a per­sis­tent Brook­lyn team.

“The way that they con­verted on us in tran­si­tion af­ter our mis­takes tonight, you can’t have that against Golden State. You just get blown out of the gym,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “We just have to play re­ally solid on both ends and do what we do as well as we can and see where we stand.”

Irv­ing missed one game with a mi­nor fa­cial frac­ture af­ter he was hit by team­mate Aron Baynes on Fri­day. He fid­dled with the mask fre­quently, but it didn’t seem to af­fect his play much. He made a jumper with 3:40 left af­ter the Nets had closed within four points and drove for an­other bas­ket about 35 sec­onds later.

“To­day, just find­ing his way and do­ing what he does, mak­ing big plays for us, com­ing through and seal­ing the game,” said Celtics cen­ter Al Hor­ford, who had 17 points and 11 re­bounds.

Toronto 129, at Hous­ton 113: DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and the Rap­tors built a big lead in the first half and held on to end the Rock­ets’ six-game win­ning streak. James Harden had 38 points and made 19 of 19 foul shots for the Rock­ets.

San Antonio 97, at Dal­las 91:

LaMar­cus Aldridge scored a sea­son-high 32 points in his home­town and Gregg Popovich be­came the fastest NBA coach to 500 road wins. He got there in 835 away games, 41 fewer than Pat Ri­ley. Aldridge, a prod­uct of Dal­las’ Seagov­ille High, scored eight points dur­ing a de­ci­sive stretch of the fourth quar­ter. Rookie Den­nis Smith Jr. led the Mavericks with a ca­reer-high 27 points.

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