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

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

It's nearly like having somewhat foggy blinders on.

"I just think it's his team", Kerr said of Irving.

Irving suffered the fracture below his right eye when he was accidentally elbowed Friday by Celtics teammate Aron Baynes.

"When I take off the mask, I can see everything". That black mask, like, it just takes away your vision.

In truth, the Celtics offense, which has often struggled even with Irving's face unimpeded - indeed, his 8-for-20 shooting performance wasn't all that different from his 44.4 percent coming in - was no better last night.

With the protective mask on, Irving played 29 minutes and had five assists. The Celtics will now sit at 13-2, with the NBA's best record, when they take on the West-leading defending National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday night in a marquee nationally televised matchup between the league's best offense (Golden State, averaging a blistering 116.1 points per 100 possessions) and its No. 1 defense (Boston, allowing a minuscule 95.8 points-per-100).

Irving started walking over and began taking off his jersey and his sneakers.

"I don't worry about him getting a rhythm too much", Boston coach Brad Stevens said.

Irving repeatedly wrestled with the mask Tuesday, fidgeting with the straps at times while dribbling up the court and removing it completely during nearly every dead-ball situation. "He'll find that and obviously he made huge plays late in the game again".

"They really challenge you", Horford said of the Nets. "We just have to play really solid on both ends and do what we do as well as we can and see where we stand".

While Irving scored 25 points for the third time as a Celtic, four others reached double figures.

Marcus Morris added 21 points 10 rebounds while Al Horford bagged 17 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

An inability to contain Irving down the stretch sent the Nets to a seventh loss in nine games since beating Cleveland on October 25.

"I thought guys competed", Nets Coach Kenny Atkinson said.

Reserve Joe Harris led the Nets with 19 points while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 16. So I'm just like, 'Oh, basket.' Like, this is just the best-case scenario. Golden State is next at 11-3, and Boston got good preparation for the game against a persistent Brooklyn team.

"I'm glad I get to wear a clear one".