Celtics Pick Up Fifth Straight Victory


Published on October 31 2017 6:21 am
Last Updated on October 31 2017 6:21 am


The injury to free agent Gordon Hayward devastated the Boston Celtics emotionally and threatened to derail their efforts to improve on last year's Eastern Conference finals appearance.

It took about three games for them to figure things out.

"Once that happened, we really didn't know where we were at as a team," center Al Horford said on Monday night after the Celtics won their fifth straight game, beating the San Antonio Spurs 108-9. "We've really come together."

Kyrie Irving scored 24 points for the third straight game, Jaylen Brown added 18 and Horford had 13 rebounds for Boston, which last beat the Spurs in 2011 -- a 10-game losing streak. Irving also had three steals and a blocked shot, and coach Brad Stevens praised his defense.

"You can tell he's getting more comfortable every time he takes the floor," Stevens said.

Boston signed Hayward in the offseason in an attempt to bolster the team that earned the No. 1 seed in the East. But the deal that swapped Irving for Isaiah Thomas signaled a near-complete break with last year's team.

Then Hayward was injured before the season was six minutes old, and the Celtics lost their first two games, on back-to-back nights.

Since then, they haven't lost.

And Irving is the biggest reason why.

"Things were going rough for him at the beginning of the season. A lot of people doubted him," said guard Terry Rozier, who had 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter. "I feel like we all had to adapt to him. It's worked out pretty well."

Reserves Brandon Paul had 18 points and Rudy Gay scored 14 for San Antonio.

It was the first game this season that LaMarcus Aldridge didn't lead San Antonio in scoring. He had 11 points.

Boston led 54-49 at halftime and scored 10 of the first 12 points in the third quarter -- eight from Irving on a pair of 3-pointers and a layup. The Celtics point guard was 10 for 15 shooting through three quarters, including 3 for 6 from 3-point range, before sitting most of the fourth while Boston nursed a double-digit lead.

"No different than any other night I've seen him play," coach Gregg Popovich said. "He's a hell of a player. You think that's going to change? Kyrie does what he does and he does it very well."

Monday, October 30 Scoreboard

Boston 108, San Antonio 94

Minnesota 125,  Miami 122 (OT)

New YOrk 116, Denver 110

Philadelphia 115, Houston 107

Charlotte 104, Memphis 99

Orlando 115, New Orleans 99

Utah 104, Dallas 89

Toronto 99, Portland 85

Golden State 141, Los Angeles Clippers 113

Tuesday, October 31 Schedule (All Times Central)

Sacramento at Indiana, 6 p.m.

Phoenix at Brooklyn, 6:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City at Milwaukee, 7 p.m.

Detroit at Los Angeles, 9:30 p.m.