Irving iffy as Celtics go for 13th in row vs. Nets

From FOX Sports - November 13, 2017

NEW YORKThe next time Kyrie Irving takes the court, he might be wearing a mask to protect his face from any inadvertent elbows.

Whether Irvings next appearance will be Tuesday when the Boston Celtics visit the Brooklyn Nets is unknown since the point guard is listed as questionable.

Irving is traveling with the team so theres a decent chance he will play. Whether its Irving or Marcus Smart starting at point guard, the Celtics will attempt to continue winning and produce their 11th streak of at least 13 games in team history.

Were not going to make up for Kyrie Irving by somebody trying to be Kyrie Irving, Boston coach Brad Stevens said. We just have to all chip in and account for him as a team.

The Celtics last won 13 in a row from Nov. 22 to Dec. 22, 2010, when Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were on a team that put together 14 straight victories. The team record is 19 set from Nov. 15 to Dec. 23, 2008, though talk about the streak isnt ongoing in the locker room, according to Stevens.

I havent heard any of the guys talk about (the streak), Stevens said. Certainly, were (the coaching staff) not talking about it.

Boston (12-2) owns the leagues top record and has not lost since an eight-point loss to Milwaukee in their home opener on Oct. 18, a night after Gordon Hayward was lost for the season with a horrendous knee injury. The Celtics are allowing a league-low 94 points and are giving up 92.2 points during the streak.

Irvings injury was scary when he took an elbow to the face from teammate Aron Baynes 1:50 into Fridays win over the Charlotte Hornets. The Celtics appeared shell-shocked by scoring 11 points in the first quarter but came back from an 18-point deficit to post a 90-87 victory.

Win No. 11 was achieved without Al Horford and Irving.

Horford returned from a concussion Sunday and scored 21 points in a 95-94 win over the Toronto Raptors. Smart was the starting point guard for Irving and handed out nine assists.

It took the whole team tonight to take over the absence of Kyrie, Smart said. Hes missed greatly, tremendously on this team. But that just shows the type of team we are. One of our brothers goes down again and we respond with a win.

If Irving sports a mask Tuesday, the Celtics will hope to get a showing from him similar to five years ago. Irving scored 41 points with the mask for the Cleveland Cavaliers in a one-point loss at New York on Dec. 15, 2012.


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