The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

YORK» Kyrie Irv­ing re­turned NEW to the lineup and scored 25 points while wear­ing a mask, and the Celtics beat the 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 10696.

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.


LaMar­cus Aldridge scored a sea­son-high 32 points in his home­town as the Spurs beat the Mav­er­icks 97-91. 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. … DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and the Rap­tors built a big lead in the first half and held on for a 129-113 win over the Rock­ets. James Har­den had 38 points and made 19-of-19 foul shots for the Rock­ets.


Ba­tum ready to re­turn.

Hor­nets swing­man Ni­co­las Ba­tum will make his reg­u­lar-sea­son de­but Wed­nes­day against the Cleve­land Cav­a­liers af­ter miss­ing Char­lotte’s first 12 games be­cause of an el­bow in­jury. Hor­nets coach Steve Clif­ford told re­porters that, bar­ring a “dras­tic” set­back, Ba­tum would start.

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