Celtics prepare for Warriors by winning their 13th in a row
Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup and scored 25 points while wearing a mask, and the Celtics beat the Nets 109-102 in Brooklyn on Tuesday night for their 13th straight victory.
The Celtics, unbeaten since an 0-2 start, head into a matchup Thursday in Boston against the Warriors, winners of seven in a row.
“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.”
Marcus Morris added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Jayson Tatum scored 19 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,” Boston head 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 facial fracture after he was hit by teammate Aron Baynes on Friday. Irving fiddled with the mask frequently, but it didn’t seem to affect his play. He made a jumper with 3:40 left after the Nets had cut the deficit to four and drove for another basket 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 Boston’s Al Horford, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Boston put it away with Jaylen Brown’s alley-oop feed to Tatum before Irving hit two free throws to make it 106-96.
Joe Harris scored 19 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who are without leading scorer D’Angelo Russell (bruised left knee). Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert added 15 points apiece.