NEW YORK – Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup and scored 25 points while wearing a mask, and the Boston Celtics beat the Brooklyn 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 106-96.
Joe Harris scored 19 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets.
Raptors 129, Rockets 113
HOUSTON – DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and Toronto built a big lead in the first half and held on for a win over Houston.
James Harden had 38 points and made 19 of 19 foul shots for the Rockets, who ended a six-game winning streak.
Houston scored six straight points, including three free throws from Harden, to make it 108-103 with about 7 1/2 minutes left.
Delon Wright made a free throw for the Raptors soon after that, and OG Anunoby connected for Toronto’s first field goal in more than three minutes on a 3-pointer with 6:25 remaining. After Wright’s layup, Kyle Lowry stole the ball from Harden, and DeRozan finished on the other end with a dunk to make it 116-103.
Harden got Houston going again with a four-point play. The free throw was his 19th, setting a franchise record for most foul shots without a miss in a game.
DeRozan and Serge Ibaka had back-to-back dunks after Harden’s big play to make it 120-107 with about three minutes left and send many of the home fans toward the exits.
Spurs 97, Mavericks 91
DALLAS – LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 32 points in his hometown and San Antonio beat Dallas.
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.
Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. led Dallas with a career-high 27 points, and J.J. Barea and Harrison Barnes had 16 each. The Mavericks are 2-13 for the second straight season and fifth time overall.