Masked man: Irving returns as Celtics win 13th straight

Masked man: Irving returns as Celtics win 13th straight

Irving returned to the Celtics wearing the contraption to protect a small facial fracture under his right eye, and with varying degrees of irritation, he pulled it off last night during every break in play.

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

"When I take off the mask, I can see everything". "It's masked man. But I understand that it's just for my safety so throw on the mask for a few weeks and go about my business". "Hopefully I won't get elbowed by one of my teammates today". So that's the whole black mask thing. I'm telling these guys, 'Come on, show some gratitude.

"I was telling some of my teammates, some of the fans, too, they were asking me whether I was going to wear the black mask".

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.

Boston is the first team in National Basketball Association history to secure 12 straight victories after losing the first two games of the season.

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"They turned up their defense and we couldn't handle it", Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.

"They really challenge you", Horford said of the Nets. "And now comes the whole media frenzy of 'Will the streak end?' and 'What's going to happen on Thursday when the Golden State Warriors come to Boston?' So I'm looking forward to all that hoopla". They set the tone. "You've got to have the complete game, and that's where we were lacking".

The Celtics carved out some major space with a 19-2 third-quarter run that led to an 80-72 advantage at the start of the fourth, but it did little to cement momentum.

Kyle Lowry and C.J. Miles scored 19 points each for Toronto, Miles coming off the bench to sink 6-of-9 shots from 3-point range.

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.

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.

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