Irving masks injury, scores 25 in Celtics' victory
NEW YORK -- A masked Kyrie Irving scored 25 points as the Boston Celtics ran their winning streak to 13 games with a 109-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday.
Irving was considered questionable for the game after taking an inadvertent elbow from teammate Aron Baynes 1:50 into Friday's game against Charlotte. He missed Boston's 12th straight win Sunday against the Toronto Raptors but returned with a protective mask over his face, shot 8 of 20 in 29 minutes and helped Boston finish off its latest win.
Marcus Morris added 21 points 10 rebounds while Al Horford totaled 17 and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.
Rookie Jayson Tatum added 19 points and Jaylen Brown chipped in 14 for the Celtics, who are on their first 13-game winning streak since winning 14 straight from Nov. 22 to Dec. 22, 2010.
Reserve Joe Harris led the Nets with 19 points while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 16. Allen Crabbe and Caris Levert added 15 apiece while Spencer Dinwiddie had 12 points and 11 assists in place of D'Angelo Russell (left knee contusion)
The Celtics never trailed after Irving's 22-foot pull-up gave them a 67-65 lead with 5:26 remaining in the third quarter. The basket was part of a 19-6 run to close the third and give the Celtics an 80-71 lead into the fourth.
After allowing the Nets to get within 82-81 early in the fourth, Irving watched from the bench as the Celtics regained control with a 10-0 run, capped by a Shane Larkin basket with 6:50 remaining.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Crabbe cut the lead to 95-91 with about four minutes remaining but Irving hit a 22-footer on the next possession. Then he drove on Hollis-Jefferson with 3:04 left and hit three foul shots down the stretch while hearing "MVP chants" from the many Celtics fans in the stands.
NOTES: Brooklyn C Jarrett Allen returned after missing the last six games with a left foot strain. ... At the morning shootaround, Boston G Kyrie Irving joked that C Aron Baynes did not need to apologize for the inadvertent elbow that led to the facial injury. "He don't need to get me a fruit basket, man," Irving said. ... F Trevor Booker became the ninth different player to start a game for the Nets.