Irving’s 26 points, 10 assists performance carries Celtics past Heat 107-99

BOSTON (AP) – Kyrie Irving had 26 points and 10 assists, Al Horford added 16 points and 12 rebounds and the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat 107-99 on Monday night for their fourth straight victory.

Irving has had 20 or more points and 10 or more assists in 11 games, the first Celtics’ player to accomplish the feat since Hall of Famer Larry Bird, who also had 11 in 1986-87.

Jayson Tatum added 19 points and Marcus Morris 17 for the Celtics, who won their ninth straight at home and improved to 18-5 at TD Garden.

Derrick Jones Jr and Dion Waiters led the Heat with 18 points apiece.

Boston led by 19 points entering the final quarter, before Miami rallied and closed within 99-94 with 4.5 minutes to play.

Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving tries to steal the ball from Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game between the two teams in Boston on Monday night. – AP

Irving then hit three spinning, driving baskets in the paint on the Celtics’ next three possessions to seal the win.

The building was somewhat quiet for most of the game, until the Celtics broke it open in the third quarter.

Boston shot a torrid 72.7 per cent (16-of-22) in the third, outscoring the Heat 37-18.

The teams were tied at the half before Boston opened the third with a 9-0 run over a 1:39 stretch.

Following a three-pointer by Miami’s Tyler Johnson, the Celtics took charge by scoring 11 of the next 14 points, pushing their lead to 70-56.

Tatum and Horford each had a pair of buckets before Morris closed it with a three-point play.

The Celtics used a late 12-3 run to move in front 87-68 after three periods.

Speaking praise

Irving addressed the crowd about the late Martin Luther King Jr just before tipoff.

“On this Monday night, we celebrate and honour the life and legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, a man who truly embodies what it means to be a leader, a visionary and a dreamer,” he said.

“But I think what we most remember him for is for his stance and his action. He fought for justice, equality and, most importantly, peace for all. So, on behalf of the Celtics organisation with everybody here, we honour Dr Martin Luther King.”