Friday, 24 November, 2017

Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving masks injury, scores 25 in' victory

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics embraces Jaylen Brown #7 after the Celtics defeat the Golden State Warriors 92-88 at TD Garden Sean Grande previews the Celtics match up with the Golden St. Warriors
Kristopher Love | 15 November, 2017, 10:49

The Celtics (13-2) and Golden State (11-3) have the two best records in the National Basketball Association. But he eventually relented and said that the mask makes things hard for him. It'll mark the third time in his career that Irving will be required to play with a protective mask - he did it for two extended stints during his time with the Cavs - so it's not like this is uncharted waters for the 25-year-old, even if it's not the most comfortable thing in the world.

Irving suffered a facial fracture Friday in Boston's 90-87 victory over Charlotte when Australian teammate Aron Baynes elbowed him accidentally. But he described it like having foggy blinders, restricting his peripheral vision. "The difference with the black mask is that they're not getting the ball because I couldn't see outside of my eyesight".

Irving made four of his final five shots and helped the Celtics seal their latest win down the stretch before answering the inevitable question of "how's your face?" while standing near a whiteboard inside a cramped Boston locker room.

Irving, who joined the Celtics in an off-season trade with Cleveland, wore a mask for 19 games with the Cavaliers in the 2012-13 season. "But yeah, this was a good game for us".

Marcus Morris added 21 points and 10 rebounds while Al Horford contributed 17 points and 11 rebounds for Boston and called Irving's return "great" for the Celtics.

"I thought guys competed", Nets Coach Kenny Atkinson said. "Just finding his way and doing what he does, making big plays for us, coming through and sealing the game".

Joe Harris scored 19 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets.

In other National Basketball Association games Tuesday, DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and the Toronto Raptors built a big lead in the first half and held on for a 129-113 victory over the Houston Rockets in Houston.

James Harden paced Houston with 38 points and 11 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 32 points in his hometown and the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Dallas Mavericks 97-91 in Dallas.

The Spurs, still playing without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, took a 34-31 lead with about eight minutes to go in the second quarter and managed to hold on the rest of the way. Now at 13-2, they've won 13 games in a row and appear to be the most dominant and cohesive team in the East by a landslide.