Irving Scores 28, Celtics Hold Off Nets On New Year’s Eve
By DOUG ALDEN
BOSTON (AP) – Kyrie Irving scored 28 points, Al Horford had 10 points and 10 rebounds and the Boston Celtics held off the Brooklyn Nets 108-105 on Sunday.
Marcus Morris added 15 points, Terry Rozier scored 14 and Jaylen Brown finished with 13 points as Boston closed 2017 by winning three straight and four of five.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Caris LeVert scored 16 for the Nets, who could not overcome 10 turnovers in the second half.
The Celtics won their seventh straight against the Nets, although Boston didn’t have the game in hand until Irving made a pair of free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining. Boston went the final 4:27 without a field goal and struggled from the foul line, going 13 of 21 in the second half and missing several opportunities to put Brooklyn away.
Hollis-Jefferson pulled the Nets within 103-95 on a dunk, and then converted a three-point play with 2:05 left to cut the margin to 103-98. Quincy Acy hit a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left after the Nets grabbed two offensive rebounds and Brooklyn was within 105-103.
Marcus Smart made 1 of 2 free throws with 15.2 seconds left, and then Irving, who went 4-for-4 from the foul line, added two more to seal it.
Acy scored 14 for the Nets, DeMarre Carrol and Allen Crabbe scored 12 points apiece and Spencer Dinwiddie had 10 points and nine assists.
Nets: Brooklyn outscored the Celtics 31-23 in the second quarter and had one turnover in the first half. … Brooklyn won consecutive games only once in December. … The Nets oustcored the Celtics in the paint 50-34.
Celtics: Irving scored at least 20 points for the 11th straight game. … Boston took a 38-28 lead on Terry Rozier’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer at the end of the first period. … Boston shot 69.6 percent (16 for 23) in the first quarter. … The Celtics outrebounded the Nets 22-14 in the first half.
Nets: Are back at home Monday night hosting Orlando after a five-game trip.
Celtics: Host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch.
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