Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving expressed frustration with the clear protective mask that he wore while returning to game action Tuesday night but said it was still a better option than the black one he once used during a memorable performance here in NY.
Irving suffered a facial fracture Friday in Boston's 90-87 victory over Charlotte when Australian teammate Aron Baynes elbowed him accidentally. 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).
When it was over, Kyrie Irving shed the plastic mask and saluted some of the Boston Celtics fans chanting "MVP, MVP", as he walked off the court. He has had to wear a mask before to protect injuries, and says he doesn't like it but understands it is necessary for his safety.
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"I just think it's his team", Kerr said of Irving. That black mask, like, it just takes away your vision. "He'll find that and obviously he made huge plays late in the game again".
The Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-102 on Tuesday to extend their winning run to 13 games on the bounce.
In truth, the Celtics offense, which has often struggled even with Irving's face unimpeded - indeed, his 8-for-20 shooting performance wasn't all that different from his 44.4 percent coming in - was no better last night.
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At Houston, Toronto's DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points to lead six Raptors in double figures as the Canadian club downed the host Rockets 129-113, snapping Houston's six-game win streak. Al Horford also continued his efficient run, with 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
"They turned up their defense and we couldn't handle it", Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "It just goes to show when you play against good teams, great teams, in fact, you can't just have little strings here and there".
"But the biggest one is the most obvious one: that Gordon Hayward, one of the 25 best players in the world, got hurt in the first game, then they lost the second one and were pretty close to losing to the Sixers in the third one". So I'm glad I get to wear a clear one.
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