"When I take off the mask, I can see everything". It'll mark the third time in his career that Irving will be required to play with a protective mask - he did it for two extended stints during his time with the Cavs - so it's not like this is uncharted waters for the 25-year-old, even if it's not the most comfortable thing in the world.
"I'm glad I get to wear a clear one". Boston (13-2) and Golden State (11-3) have the two best records in the National Basketball Association. Even though DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined to score almost half of the Raptors points, Al Horford, 21 points, led a balanced attack that featured five Celtics scoring in double figures. Al Horford also continued his efficient run, with 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
The Celtics, whose 13-2 record is the NBA's best, are on their longest win streak since winning 14 in a row in November and December of 2010, with the team record of 19 consecutive wins coming in November and December of 2008.
"I thought guys competed", Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr says it appears the Boston Celtics have emerged as the next team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
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"They're all on a string, they play off each other really well, they're really sound and they're motivated", Kerr said.
"The way that they converted on us in transition after our mistakes tonight, you can't have that against Golden State". They're great at that.
With the crowd chanting, "MVP", Irving found himself back at the line with 37.1 seconds left, hitting twice for a 106-96 lead that would finally prove to be enough. "Sometimes our offense gets a little stagnant, but at the end of the day, if we defend the right way, we're going to win games".