Return of Kyrie Irving helps Celtics extend winning streak to 13

Return of Kyrie Irving helps Celtics extend winning streak to 13

Sporting the protective piece of plastic on his face, Irving scored 25 points and the Celtics ran their winning streak to 13 games with a 109-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. "When I have the mask on, I'm really dialed into what's in front of me, my peripherals are a little cut off, but it's just something you get you used to".

It was Irving's first game back since he suffered a minor facial fracture during Friday's game against the Charlotte Hornets.

Irving is expected to remain in the mask for the next couple of weeks, including Thursday's showdown with the visiting Golden State Warriors.

Morris added 21 and 10 rebounds and Tatum contributed 19. The Celtics will now sit at 13-2, with the NBA's best record, when they take on the West-leading defending National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday night in a marquee nationally televised matchup between the league's best offense (Golden State, averaging a blistering 116.1 points per 100 possessions) and its No. 1 defense (Boston, allowing a minuscule 95.8 points-per-100). Golden State is next at 11-3, and Boston got good preparation for the game against a persistent Brooklyn team. "We just have to play really solid on both ends and do what we do as well as we can and see where we stand". He fiddled with the mask frequently, but it didn't seem to affect his play much.

Following a stretch of trading shots, Irving came out of a rebound pack with the ball following a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson miss, and Jaylen Brown extended the break with a lob to a dunking Jayson Tatum for a 104-96 lead. Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert added 15 points apiece.


Irving famously scored a then-career-high 41 points against the New York Knicks while wearing a black mask in December 2012.

"It's nearly like having somewhat foggy blinders on", Irving said.

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.

"They turned up their defense and we couldn't handle it", Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. He donned a transparent face mask during the game and went on to lead all scorers with 25 points.

DALLAS (AP) - LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 32 points in his hometown and San Antonio beat Dallas.

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