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NBA: Irving takes charge, Celtics beat Hawks for 9th straight win

Updated: 
November 7, 2017 - 12:05am

ATLANTA — Kyrie Irving took charge in a fashion only he can.

Dribbling and weaving through the lane and around the perimeter, Irving scored from all over and kept his teammates involved all night.

“It’s a beautiful game when it’s played the right way,” the four-time All-Star said. “It’s not going to look good every possession, but you’ve got to be able to move onto the next play. I understand that better than most.”

Irving scored 35 points, Jayson Tatum added 21 and the Boston Celtics held off the Atlanta Hawks 110-107 Monday night for their ninth straight victory.

Irving’s 3 from the right wing put the Celtics up 104-103 — the game’s 25th lead change — with 1:37 remaining, and Boston led the rest of the way.

Dennis Schroder had 23 points for the rebuilding Hawks, who dropped to 2-9 a night after a surprising two-point win at Cleveland.

“It would’ve been sweet to win two in a row against those kinds of teams,” Schroder said. “But we ended up short.”

Boston improved to 9-2, best in the NBA, and has its longest winning streak in seven years.

Al Horford had 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in his best game against the Hawks. Horford spent his first nine seasons in Atlanta before leaving as a free agent ahead of last season and had totals of 20 points and 17 rebounds in three games against his former team.

Irving had his first 30-point game as a Celtic on a night packed with highlights. He dribbled between his legs and behind his back before hitting a floater off the glass from the left baseline to put Boston up 46-44. He had two impressive assists late in the third with long, one-handed passes that led to 3s by Marcus Smart and Tatum, the latter giving Boston a 72-71 lead.

Irving either scored or assisted on every basket of a 16-2 run in the third that put the Celtics up by seven. He finished with seven assists.

“He’s just very unique,” Horford said. “He has a good sense of how teams are playing him.”

The Celtics started to pull away and took their biggest lead at 10 on Semi Ojeleye’s 3 early in the fourth, but the Hawks came back to take a few brief leads in the final period.

“To compete the way we did and give ourselves a chance to win, we got better tonight and we can learn from it,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenhozler said.

WARRIORS 97, HEAT 80

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kevin Durant had 21 points and eight rebounds to help the Golden State Warriors overcome their shooting woes and beat the Miami Heat 97-80 in a rare low-scoring outing Monday night.

Draymond Green scored 18 points with a season-high four 3s to go with nine rebounds as the defending NBA champions won for the seventh time in their last eight games, including three straight in lopsided fashion on their recent road trip.

The Warriors had scored 100 points in every regular-season game since their second-to-last matchup last season, a 105-99 defeat to Utah as the regulars rested or played limited minutes ahead of the playoffs. Golden State is 3-11 over the past three seasons when held below 100 points.

Stephen Curry added 16 points and Klay Thompson 13. The Warriors shot just 36.8 percent and 11 for 32 from deep. Durant added six assists and three blocks.

James Johnson scored 21 points off the bench and Goran Dragic contributed 19 points for Miami a night after squeaking out a 104-101 road win against the Clippers.

Thompson missed his first four 3-point tries before connecting late in the first half as Golden State took a 50-37 lead into intermission. Curry was 1 for 9 in the first half and Durant 3 for 8 — and they went a combined 0 for 7 from deep — before Golden State got going a bit after halftime.

Curry was hit with a technical at the 3:20 mark of the first quarter for an elbow to Tyler Johnson while the Golden State star drove to the basket.

Both teams were cold shooting in the early going — Golden State 29.2 percent in the first quarter to 38.1 by Miami, which committed seven of its 23 turnovers in the period.

NETS 98, SUNS 92

PHOENIX — D’Angelo Russell had 23 points and eight assists, Joe Harris scored a season-high 18 points and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Phoenix Suns 98-92 on Monday night.

The Suns rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit to lead 75-74 after Jared Dudley’s layup with 9:17 to play, but the Nets went back ahead moments later and held on to end a four-game skid.

Russell scored 13 points in the fourth quarter. DeMarre Carroll added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

T.J. Warren had 20 points as the Suns lost their third straight. Devin Booker scored 18 points before fouling out late in the game.

The Suns made just 34.9 percent of their field goal attempts despite starting well, with Booker scoring 11 points in the first seven minutes. The Nets used a 16-0 run to go up 28-16.

Phoenix cut the lead to one twice in the second quarter but finished the half making 10 of 40 shots. The Nets, behind 14 first-half points from Harris, led 47-41 at the break.

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