Irving leads Celtics to fifth consecutive win, 108-94 over Spurs

Irving leads Celtics to fifth consecutive win, 108-94 over Spurs

BOSTON –  When you watch Kyrie Irving play, there’s a methodic, calculated pace about him where he seems to pick and choose when to pick a defense apart.

Through the first six games this season, he usually went into takeover mode late in the game.

But on Monday, Irving jumped on the San Antonio Spurs from the outset, and the Celtics’ control was never really threatened as they cruised to a 108-94 win.

The win not only extended the Celtics’ winning streak to five in a row, but also snapped an 11-game losing skid to the Spurs (4-3). Brandon Paul led San Antonio with 18 points off the bench while LaMarcus Aldridge who came in averaging more than 25 points per game for the Spurs, had just 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting which included him going scoreless in the second half.

Irving led all scorers with 24 points and six assist. Al Horford continued his solid play at both ends of the floor which included him tallying his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds to go with five assists. Boston (5-2) got a strong performance offensively from Jaylen Brown who came in having shot 3-for-17 in his last two games. On Monday, he had 18 points on 6-for-11 shooting.

But this game was about Irving setting the tone from the very outset.

After a 16-point, 5-assist first half by Irving, Boston opened the third quarter with a 10-2 run that featured eight points from Irving.

Boston played with a double-digit lead for most of the third and fourth quarters, but it wasn’t until Terry Rozier scored eight straight points that pushed Boston’s lead to 93-76 that it seemed the Celtics had finally gave themselves enough of a cushion to feel comfortable with the win.

From there, the only thing left up in the air was how much of a margin would the Celtics win by.

Of course, Boston was facing a San Antonio team missing key players such as Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili who were all out with injuries.

Still, the Spurs have been among the best at getting the most out of their players when others are out with injuries.

In many ways, that has been what this Celtics team has been about ever since Gordon Hayward’s gruesome left ankle injury that’s expected to keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

As much as this game featured several Celtics stepping up, there’s no escaping the impact that Irving had on the game and how his leadership on the floor, set the team’s strong play afterwards in motion that paved the way for Brad Stevens’ first victory over the Spurs and Gregg Popovich.


Tyrann Mathieu signs deal with Texans

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Tyrann Mathieu signs deal with Texans

Tyrann Mathieu is heading to the Houston.

The former Cardinals safety signed a one-year, $7 million deal with the Texans on Friday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Mathieu, 25, had two interceptions with Arizona in 2017.


Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

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Celtics snap skid with dominant win over Magic, 92-83

The Orlando Magic are one of the few teams already eliminated from playoff contention. 

And on Friday, it didn’t take long to see why.

CELTICS TALK PODCAST - Smart's importance, dissecting the Eastern Conference

The Boston Celtics didn’t waste any time taking control of the game and never letting up as they cruised to a 92-83 win.

Terry Rozier and Greg Monroe led the Celtics with 17 points each and Shelvin Mack had 16 points and seven rebounds for Orlando.  

With the win, the Celtics (47-22) snapped a two-game losing skid and improved their record since returning from the All-Star break to 7-3. 

Getting back on a winning track was just part of Boston’s motivation heading into Friday night’s game. 

With several key players out with injuries, the Celtics’ depth was once again on display from the opening tip to the final horn. 

In the first half, reserve guard Shane Larkin led the team in scoring with 10 points. 

And in the third quarter, backup center Greg Monroe was too much for the Magic to handle around the basket.

In the third, Monroe scored 10 of his 17 points off Boston’s bench. 

This was a game that the Celtics showed few signs of the kind of let-up we have seen them display against bad teams from time to time. 

But Orlando opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run that cut Boston’s lead down to 77-61 with 9:18 to play. 

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens had seen enough and called a time-out. 

Orlando was able to chip away a little more at Boston’s lead which peaked at 24 points but was down to single digits in the fourth which provided a glimmer of hope that maybe just maybe, the Magic could get back in the game.

But when it mattered, Boston made the plays in the game’s closing moments to secure the victory. 

For the Celtics, the goal on Friday night was two-fold: find a way to win and come away healthy. 

Boston found success on both fronts, a refreshing change the Celtics hope to do more of going forward. 

Marcus Smart underwent surgery on his right thumb earlier in the day, which is expected to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks which would put his return to the floor at the earliest, sometime near the end of the first round of the playoffs or early into the second. 

Daniel Theis underwent season-ending surgery recently for a meniscus tear in his left knee.

And Boston played without Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness), but he might back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

Al Horford returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to an illness, and he didn’t disappoint in finishing with a near double-double of 15 point and nine rebounds.