Boston Celtics Extend Winning Run to 12By Connor Lynch
The Boston Celtics extended their undefeated NBA run to 12 games last night. Without Kyrie Irving, Boston edged the Toronto Raptors 95-94.
Irving suffered a minor facial fracture in Bostons last game against the Charlotte Hornets after an accidental collision with Aron Baynes.
It was yet another injury problem for the Celtics, who have had many this season. Irving sat out the game to see a specialist.
The Boston Celtics have used six different starting lineups since October 18. Coach Brad Stevens is used to making do, due to injuries. He said before the game against Toronto that Boston couldn’t try to replace Irving.
“We’re not going to make up for Kyrie Irving by somebody trying to be Kyrie Irving. We just have to all chip in and account for him as a team.”
Luckily for Boston, Al Horford returned from concussion to lead the Celtics to victory. The 31-year-old center shot absurdly well – making 21 points in 33 minutes for 8-for-9 shooting. Horford made a lead-preserving dunk with 2 minutes left on the clock to ease the pressure on Boston.
Horford also worked well with 21-year-old Jaylen Brown. The pair defended well on two DeMar
Rozan misses in the final 60 seconds to secure the win.
Brown was full of praise for his teammate after the game:
“It definitely looks like a young Al Horford — All-Star Al Horford, to be honest. He’s playing really well at a high level. If he keeps it up, we’re gonna be really tough.”
Horford himself was more down-to-earth about his recent good form. He said he puts it down to adapting his game to a changing NBA.
“I don’t know if young Al Horford played like this, to be honest. It’s been years of working on my game and trying to play this new way. This is the style the NBA is shifting towards, and it’s taken me a couple years to get comfortable and play like this, so the young Al Horford can shoot 3s.”
Boston was the dominant team in the NBA the last time they won 12 straight, back in the 2008-9 season. Marcus Smart says he’s trying not to think about the streak too much.
“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling real good. We definitely have a lot to work on but I like the way we’ve been playing, the toughness we’ve been bringing every game.”
“Try not to think about it. Try not to get too high, not to get too low. Just trying to stay focused and on to the next one.”
Kyrie Irving will play again soon, which is good news for Boston. The Celtics play away at Brooklyn on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s home game against defending champions Golden State Warriors.
The prospect of seeing Irving in a face mask again is generating some excitement among fans. Irving scored a career-high 41 points against the Knicks for Cleveland while wearing a mask in 2012.