Irv­ing re­turns as Celtics win again

Bos­ton stretches win­ning streak to 13

The Day - - SPORTS - By BRIAN MA­HONEY AP Bas­ket­ball Writer

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, who are with­out lead­ing scorer D'An­gelo Rus­sell be­cause of a bruised left knee. Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert added 15 points apiece.

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.

The Celtics started 7 of 9 from the field to lead 17-4, but the Nets jumped ahead in the sec­ond quar­ter and coun­tered every time Bos­ton threated to pull away un­til the final min­utes.

Notes

Celtics: Irv­ing was not an­nounced as a starter when line­ups were in­tro­duced, even though coach Brad Stevens had said he would start, af­ter an ap­par­ent mix-up be­tween the coach and scorer's ta­ble . ... The Celtics have won six straight in Brook­lyn, where they were cheered loudly and Irv­ing even heard "MVP! MVP!" chants.

Nets: Brook­lyn plays just four home games in Novem­ber. Three are this week, and the Nets host Port­land on Nov. 24 be­fore go­ing back on the road for three straight games . ... Coach Kenny Atkin­son didn't put a timetable on Rus­sell's re­turn, say­ing he was get­ting daily up­dates. ... Rookie cen­ter Jar­rett Allen re­turned af­ter miss­ing six games with a strained left foot.

Mex­i­can fans

En­ter­tain­ers Diego Al­faro and Ge­orgina Hol­guin from Mex­ico at­tended the game to help pro­mote the Nets' up­com­ing games in Mex­ico City to their home fans. Brook­lyn will play Mi­ami and Ok­la­homa City in De­cem­ber.

Up next

Celtics: Host Golden State on Thurs­day night. Nets: Host Utah on Fri­day night.

FRANK FRANKLIN II/AP PHOTO

Kyrie Irv­ing of the Celtics (11) drives to the bas­ket dur­ing the sec­ond half of Tues­day night’s game against the Nets at New York. Irv­ing scored 25 points as the Celtics won 109-102.

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