Irving-Less Celtics Beat Raptors For 12th Straight Win
By GETHIN COOLBAUGH Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) - Al Horford had 21 points in his return from a two-game absence because of a concussion and the Boston Celtics hung on to beat the Toronto Raptors 95-94 on Sunday for their 12th straight victory.
Boston (12-2) was playing without Kyrie Irving after he took an inadvertent elbow to the face from teammate Aron Baynes on Friday night against Charlotte. Irving has a minor facial fracture but has not been diagnosed with a concussion as initially feared.
Jaylen Brown added 18 points, and Terry Rozier helped fill in for Irving with 16 points off the bench. Boston shot just 40.2 percent from the field.
DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, and Kyle Lowry had 19 points and seven rebounds for Toronto. The Raptors dropped to 7-5 after winning two straight.
Jayson Tatum's acrobatic layup with 1:26 remaining in the fourth quarter put the Celtics up 95-90.
DeRozan missed a potential go-ahead stepback jumper with 19 seconds remaining. Tatum got the rebound, but elbowed Fred VanVleet in the face for an offensive foul that was confirmed by video review.
DeRozan had another look to give Toronto the win, but missed a turnaround jumper with 2 seconds left. Serge Ibaka scooped up the rebound, but lost the ball as time expired.
The Celtics took a 77-76 lead into the fourth after fighting back from nine down.
DeRozan and Lowry scored 21 of the Raptors' 24 first-quarter points, but combined for just five in the second as Toronto led by five at halftime.
MASKED KYRIE Irving visited a facial specialist Sunday and was fitted for a mask after being injured Friday. The last time Irving played in a mask was on Dec. 15, 2012, when he scored a then-career-high 41 points versus New York with Cleveland.
TIP-INS Raptors: Lowry's 3-pointer with 5:32 left in the first quarter moved him past Andrea Bargnani (6,581 points) into fourth place on Toronto's all-time scoring list. ... DeRozan had 20 or more points for the seventh straight regular season game in Boston and is averaging 22 points in that stretch. ... Norman Powell left the game with a right hip pointer.
Celtics: Boston's 12-game winning streak is tied for its third-longest in the last 30 years. The Celtics also won 12 straight from Jan. 11-Feb. 3, 2009. ... Rozier scored at least 10 points in a career-best three straight games.
UP NEXT Raptors: Continue a three-game trip Tuesday night against Houston. Celtics: Visit Brooklyn on Tuesday night in a tuneup for Thursday night's home showdown with defending champion Golden State. ___ For more NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball AP-WF-11-12-17 2345GMT