Warriors

Showdown set: Celtics win 13th straight, face streaking Warriors Thursday

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AP

Showdown set: Celtics win 13th straight, face streaking Warriors Thursday

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup and scored 25 points while wearing a mask, and the Boston Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-102 on Tuesday night for their 13th straight victory.

The Celtics remained unbeaten since an 0-2 start heading into their showdown Thursday in Boston against the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Marcus Morris added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Jayson Tatum scored 19 points for the Celtics.

Irving missed one game with a minor facial fracture after he was hit by teammate Aron Baynes on Friday. He fiddled with the mask frequently, but it didn't seem to affect his play much. He made a jumper with 3:40 left after the Nets had closed within four points and drove for another basket about 35 seconds later.

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.

Joe Harris scored 19 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who are without leading scorer D'Angelo Russell because of a bruised left knee. Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert added 15 points apiece.

Irving has had to play in a mask before, and he's done it well. He scored a then career-high 41 points in a loss at New York on Dec. 15, 2012 while with Cleveland.

The Celtics started 7 of 9 from the field to lead 17-4, but the Nets jumped ahead in the second quarter and countered every time Boston threated to pull away until the final minutes.

TIP-INS:
Celtics: Irving was not announced as a starter when lineups were introduced, even though coach Brad Stevens had said he would start, after an apparent mix-up between the coach and scorer's table. ... The Celtics have won six straight in Brooklyn, where they were cheered loudly and Irving even heard "MVP! MVP!" chants.

Nets: Brooklyn plays just four home games in November. Three are this week, and the Nets host Portland on Nov. 24 before going back on the road for three straight games. ... Coach Kenny Atkinson didn't put a timetable on Russell's return, saying he was getting daily updates. ... Rookie center Jarrett Allen returned after missing six games with a strained left foot.

MEXICAN FANS:
Entertainers Diego Alfaro and Georgina Holguin from Mexico attended the game to help promote the Nets' upcoming games in Mexico City to their home fans. Brooklyn will play Miami and Oklahoma City in December.

UP NEXT:
Celtics: Host Golden State on Thursday night.

Nets: Host Utah on Friday night.

LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs

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USATSI

LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO — LeBron James has joined the NBA's 30,000-point club.

James became the seventh player with 30,000 career points when he hit a jumper with one second left in the first quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.

James was recognized by the arena before the second quarter and got a standing ovation from Spurs fans. James patted his heard and said "thank you so much."

James needed seven points Tuesday to get there. He missed his first two midrange jumpers before making two driving layups and a 20-footer. He hit the milestone jumper over Danny Green from 19 feet out.

The 33-year-old James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,808) on the list.

At 33 years and 24 days, James is the youngest to reach the mark. Bryant was 34 years and 104 days when he got there.

The 14-time All-Star has averaged 27.1 points since breaking into the league as an 18-year-old in 2003.

Gameday: Warriors will face shorthanded Knicks

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AP

Gameday: Warriors will face shorthanded Knicks

Striving for consistency in their performances at Oracle Arena, the Warriors open a three-game homestand Tuesday as heavy favorites to beat the New York Knicks.

After three seasons of utter dominance at home -- including a record 54 consecutive wins -- the Warriors (37-10) have more losses at Oracle (six) than elsewhere (four). A variety of factors, with ennui and a lack of urgency at the top, have conspired to make them merely good at home.

The Knicks (21-26, 6-17 on the road), particularly with star forward Kristaps Porzingis out of the lineup, are the kind of relatively toothless squad capable of testing the resolve of the Warriors. The Warriors last home game was a 125-106 loss to a Clippers team without Blake Griffin and three other regular starters.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 16.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kevin Durant vs. Tim Hardaway Jr.: With Porzingis out, the scoring burden falls to the son of former Warriors great Tim Hardaway. Junior, who was born in Alameda, is New York’s No. 2 scorer (18.4 points per game) and is capable of big nights; he hung 38 points on the Raptors earlier this season. Even if Hardaway has a big night, it’s not likely to offset Durant, who is playing fine defense and may be the most complete scorer in the league.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Jordan Bell (L ankle sprain) is listed as out.

Knicks: F Kyle O’Quinn (L calf contusion) and F Kristaps Porzingis (L knee irritation) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2. Knicks: 3-7.

GAME OFFICIALS

James Williams (crew chief), Brent Barnaky, Brett Nansel

SERIES HISTORY

This is the first meeting between the teams this season. The Warriors swept the two-game series last season, have won eight of the last nine and 23 of the last 29.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE INTENSITY LEVEL: The Warriors often start sluggishly at home and sometimes find themselves in a hold. Though they usually dig out, it’s a habit they are trying to break. It starts with defense. If they come out locker room like a pack of wolves, they are able to run the Porzingis-less Knicks off the floor. If not, they are capable of keeping the Knicks in the game.

THE TURNOVER GAME: The Warriors are prone to commit a lot of turnovers; only the Lakers and 76ers commit more. But the Knicks, who play at a slower pace, actually commit a higher percentage of turnovers and rank 26th in that category. The number of points off turnovers could be high, and might be significant enough to affect the outcome.

THE BENCHES: The Warriors haven’t had a plethora of 3-point shooting off the bench but they do have a bench that uses solid defense and offensive spurts to extend leads. The Knicks, however, have a special scorer in Michael Beasley. If he gets hot, as Lou Williams did two weeks ago, Beasley can carry a subpar roster.