Irv­ing re­turns as Celtics win 13th straight

Santa Fe New Mexican - - SPORTS -

Celtics 109 Nets 102

NEW YORK — Kyrie Irv­ing re­turned to the lineup and scored 25 points while wear­ing a mask, and the Bos­ton Celtics beat the Brook­lyn Nets 109-102 on Tues­day night for their 13th straight vic­tory.

The Celtics re­mained un­beaten since an 0-2 start head­ing into their show­down Thurs­day in Bos­ton against the NBA cham­pion Golden State War­riors.

Mar­cus Morris added 21 points and 10 re­bounds, and Jayson Ta­tum scored 19 points for the Celtics.

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.

Bos­ton then fi­nally 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.

Irv­ing has had to play in a mask be­fore, and he’s done it well. He scored a then ca­reer-high 41 points in a loss at New York on Dec. 15, 2012, while with Cleve­land.

RAP­TORS 129, ROCK­ETS 113

In Hous­ton, DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and Toronto built a big lead in the first half and held on for a win over Hous­ton.

James Harden had 38 points and made 19 of 19 foul shots for the Rock­ets, who ended a sixgame win­ning streak.

Hous­ton scored six straight points, in­clud­ing three free throws from Harden, to make it 108-103 with about 7½ min­utes left.

Delon Wright made a free throw for the Rap­tors soon af­ter that, and OG Anunoby con­nected for Toronto’s first field goal in more than three min­utes on a 3-pointer with 6:25 re­main­ing.

Af­ter Wright’s layup, Kyle Lowry stole the ball from Harden, and DeRozan fin­ished on the other end with a dunk to make it 116-103.

Harden got Hous­ton go­ing again with a four­point play. The free throw was his 19th, set­ting a fran­chise record for most foul shots with­out a miss in a game.

DeRozan and Serge Ibaka had back-to-back dunks af­ter Harden’s big play to make it 120-107 with about three min­utes left and send many of the home fans to­ward the ex­its.

SPURS 97, MAVERICKS 91

In Dal­las, LaMar­cus Aldridge scored a sea­son-high 32 points in his home­town and San Antonio beat Dal­las.

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 School, scored eight points dur­ing a de­ci­sive stretch of the fourth quar­ter. Patty Mills added a sea­son-high 19 points for the Spurs.

Rookie Den­nis Smith Jr. led Dal­las with a ca­reer-high 27 points, and J.J. Barea and Har­ri­son Barnes had 16 each.

The Mavericks are 2-13 for the sec­ond straight sea­son and fifth time over­all.

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