Irv­ing re­turns to lift Celtics to 13th straight

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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.

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 six-game win­ning streak. 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.

[AP PHOTO/FRANK FRANKLIN II]

Bos­ton Celtics’ Mar­cus Smart shoots over Brook­lyn Nets’ Joe Har­ris dur­ing the sec­ond half Tues­day’s game in New York. The Celtics won 109-102.

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