Celtics' Kyrie Irving, Aware Of 'Masked Man' Craze, To Return Vs. Nets

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Kyrie Irving Gives His Celtics Jersey, Sneakers To US Soldiers

OAKLAND, Calif. - Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr says it appears the Boston Celtics have emerged as the next team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

Masked man Kyrie Irving scored 25 points to lead the Boston Celtics to their 13th consecutive National Basketball Association victory on Tuesday with a 109-102 triumph at Brooklyn. "When I have the mask on, I'm really dialed into what's in front of me, my peripherals are a little cut off, but it's just something you get used to". He then put the finishing touches on the win with a 22-foot pull-up jumper and a drive to the rim, giving the Celtics a 99-92 lead shortly after consecutive 3-pointer by Brooklyn's Allen Crabbe made it a four-point game. "That looks like a team that is going to be at the top of the East for a long time to come. Whether their time is now or the future is to be determined, but they sure look like they want it to be right now". The Warriors are seeking their fourth straight regular season with 60+ wins.

Kerr is impressed at how well Boston has rebounded after disappointment in past seasons and how they've continued to develop their young talent while adding new pieces around their young core. As you'd might expect, they were really pumped. "It's a team that's been on the rise the last couple of years".

Marcus Morris added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Jayson Tatum scored 19 points for the Celtics, who have the NBA's best record.

As irksome as the clear plastic mask might be, Irving said it was better from a team perspective than the black one he wore in 2012 with the Cleveland Cavaliers to protect a broken jaw. It just seems like the next stage in his development. "I admire Kyrie. Obviously, he's been a thorn in our side for years, and now he just happens to wear green".

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Boston and Golden State are also No. 1 and No. 2 in defensive rating, at 95.4 and 101.8, respectively.

The coolest thing about the special edition shoes is Irving took them off his feet after the game and gave them to a military member of the United States Armed Forces that was sitting courtside.

"Just wearing a mask for precautionary reasons", Irving said. "They play fast, and Golden State, that's what they do".

Aware of the inevitable "media frenzy" that will come with the Celtics' winning streak as well as Thursday's showdown with the defending champion Warriors, Irving said he was "looking forward to all that hoopla".

"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".

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