Celtics' Irving says he plans to play at Nets, wear mask

Oct 18 2017 Boston MA USA Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving returns to the bench during a break in the action against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he believes the Celtics, who are off to an NBA-best 13-2 start, have the talent and coaching to be "at the top of the East for a long time to come".

Masked man Kyrie Irving scored 25 points to lead the Boston Celtics to their 13th consecutive National Basketball Association victory on Tuesday with a 109-102 triumph at Brooklyn.

"I did my absolute best not to cry in front of her", Irving said on Tuesday.

Nov 12 2017 Boston MA USA Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart talks with guard Jaylen Brown during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The All-Star point guard suffered a facial fracture in the first quarter against the Charlotte Hornets last Friday.

"The way that they converted on us in transition after our mistakes tonight, you can't have that against Golden State".

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. He had a game-high 25 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in Tuesday's win, bringing his season averages to 20.6 points, 5.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds. "Hopefully, it'll get better in the next few weeks". The Nets immediately hit back with a 9-2 run in the first 2:05 of the fourth to make it a one-point game, before four straight free throws from the two Marcuses - Morris and Smart.

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"Today, just finding his way and doing what he does, making big plays for us, coming through and sealing the game", said Celtics center Al Horford, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds. DeMarre Carroll added 16, and Crabbe and Caris LeVert contributed 15 apiece as the Nets played without leading scorer D'Angelo Russell (left knee contusion).

He did so wearing a clear mask to protect his face, which contrasted the black one he wore when he scored 41 points as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers in a victory over the New York Knicks in 2012. It's nearly like having somewhat foggy blinders on.

"I don't worry about him getting a rhythm too much", Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

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