Phantom Kyrie Irving returns: Celtics star wears protective facemask vs. Nets

Phantom Kyrie Irving returns: Celtics star wears protective facemask vs. Nets

The Celtics started 7 of 9 from the field to lead 17-4, but the Nets jumped ahead in the second quarter and countered every time Boston threated to pull away until the final minutes.

Kyrie Irving has returned to Boston's line-up with a mask to score 25 points in the Celtics' 109-102 win over the Brooklyn Nets - their 13th straight National Basketball Association victory.

In 2012, during his second season in the National Basketball Association, then-20-year old Irving broke a bone in his jaw and had to wear a black plastic mask against the Knicks. That much was proven true after they picked up their 12th straight win, a nail-biting 95-94 victory against the visiting Toronto Raptors, on Sunday.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters that Irving did everything at Tuesday's shootaround and "looked pretty good". All that stuff - that's between him and our medical staff.

"I just want to keep this thing [my face] as pretty as possible, but it's getting tougher and tougher the more aggressive I play", said Irving, via ESPN. He also wore a mask in 2012, after fracturing his jaw while playing for Cleveland.

The 25-year-old Irving is averaging a Celtics-leading 20.3 points per game this season.

The Celtics, winners of 12 in a row, have the best record in the National Basketball Association.

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