Irving returns to lift Celtics to 13th straight
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.
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.