Kyrie Irving capped an eventful day by totaling 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists Friday night as the Boston Celtics recorded a 113-99 victory over the New York Knicks, whose home losing streak reached 13 games.
After addressing his impending free agency during the morning shootaround by saying “ask me after July 1”, Irving returned from missing the previous two games with a strained left hip and helped the Celtics win for the eighth time in nine games.
Irving heard cheers in pregame introductions and some fans chanted “We Want Kyrie” as the New Jersey native shot 9 of 20 and recorded his 13th double-double and reached double digits in rebounds for the second time.
Marcus Morris added 18 points as the Celtics shot 46 percent. Al Horford and Gordon Hayward contributed 14 apiece while Jayson Tatum chipped in 13.
The Knicks broke the team record for the longest home losing streak set during their 17-65 2014-15 campaign under coach Derek Fisher and former president Phil Jackson.
New York also dropped its season-high 12th straight game since beating the Lakers on Jan. 4 and dropped to 2-25 in its last 27 games since its last home win on Dec. 1 over the Milwaukee Bucks.
A day after trading Kristaps Porzingis, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Courtney Lee to Dallas in a move that opened up about $70 million in salary cap space, the Knicks played shorthanded. They acquired Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, and DeAndre Jordan in the deal but none of the players was active Friday.
Daymean Dotson scored a season-high 22 points as the Knicks shot 45.9 percent. Rookie Kevin Knox added 21 points for New York, which also was without point guards Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) and Frank Ntilkina (groin).
The Celtics built a 72-58 lead on a 10-footer by Horford with 3:21 left and took an 80-73 lead into the fourth. Boston began the fourth with a 14-4 run and took a 94-77 lead on a 3-pointer by Morris with 8:23 left and took its first 20-point lead at 104-83 on a fast break dunk by Brown with about six minutes left.
New York hung around by going on a 12-1 run to get within 105-95 on a layup by Dotson with 3:34 left, but Irving hit a 13-footer and Horford converted a tip-in to ice the win.