Kyrie Irving leads Celtics over Hawks
LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse
Irving broke the 30-point barrier for the first time since joining the Celtics as Boston made hard work of edging past the 2-9 Hawks.
Boston needed a three-pointer from Irving with 1min 37sec remaining to finally subdue the Hawks, giving the Celtics a 104-103 lead.
It was the final twist of a game that saw no fewer than 25 lead changes.
"He made huge plays down the stretch," coach Brad Stevens said of Irving. "I thought he not only made the plays, but he made a lot of right reads, too."
Stevens said he suspected Irving might be due a big performance after an 11-point outing in his previous game at Orlando on Nov. 5.
"When you're coaching against people, I always look at the box score for the game before," Stevens said.
"If they really struggled but they're really good, that's just scary stuff. Guys like that don't have quiet nights twice in a row."
Jayson Tatum also weighed in with a double-digit tally, scoring 21 points while pulling down eight rebounds. Al Horford added 15 points while Jaylen Brown chipped in with 11 points.
But Irving's virtuoso display was the main talking point amongst his team-mates after the win.
"It's exciting to be out there on his side, watching him do all those incredible things," said Celtics rookie Tatum. "He's a great player."
Atlanta saw Dennis Schroder score 23 points, while Dewayne Dedmon and Marco Belinelli each had 19 points. Dedmon also finished with 12 rebounds.
Celtics now lead the Eastern Conference with a 9-2 record. Hawks, who had stunned Cleveland on Nov. 5 in an upset win, are bottom of the conference at 2-9.