0458 GMT March 23, 2018
Irving had a key three-pointer and a driving basket in the closing two minutes, helping Boston hold off the Phoenix Suns for a 116-111 victory on Saturday, The Associated Press reported.
"Kyrie's ability to make those shots with very little space is pretty impressive," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
"We put ourselves in a bad spot after that fourth-quarter run."
Irving finished with 19 points, leading a balanced attack for NBA-leading Boston (20-4).
Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris each scored 17 points, Jayson Tatum had 15 and Al Horford added 14 points and a career-best 11 assists.
Devin Booker scored a season-high 38 points for Phoenix in his first game at TD Garden since he put up 70 against the Celtics on March 24. T.J. Warren had 19 points, and Tyson Chandler finished with 14 points and 18 rebounds.
Booker was certainly thinking about playing in Boston again.
"This whole week I've been getting questions about the game," he said. "But like I said, it was a great night. Tried to come out and be aggressive. Just fell a little short."
Phoenix cut a 17-point deficit to 105-103 on Chandler's dunk late in the game. But Irving, who returned to the game with 4:30 minutes left with the lead down to eight, responded with a three from the right wing on the next possession, and his spinning shot off the backboard made it 112-106 with 29 seconds left.
"We have to do more of that for Kyrie, so he can just go out there and not have to work so hard all the time," Horford said.
Leading by one late in the third, the Celtics closed the quarter with an 11-2 run. Marcus Morris' alley-oop jam in the final seconds made it 89-79.
Boston then scored the first seven points in the fourth before Phoenix rallied with 15 of the next 19 points over a five-minute stretch.
"It's just understanding the game and what's available and not making mistakes down the stretch," Suns interim coach Jay Triano said.
Coming off a season-low two points when he played only 22 minutes, Brown scored 16 in the opening half.
Grizzlies 111 Cavaliers 116
LeBron James scored 34 points, including seven in the final 1:22, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-111 on Saturday night for their 11th straight victory.
Memphis has lost 11 in a row, including three since David Fizdale was fired Monday and replaced by interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
James, the reigning NBA Player of the Month, also had 12 assists. Kevin Love added 20 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland.
The Grizzlies trailed 91-72 late in the third quarter, but rallied all the way to a tie at 109 on Dillon Brooks’ three-pointer with 2:10 remaining. James’ basket in the lane gave Cleveland the lead.
After Tyreke Evans missed a 3-pointer, James drove the lane, scored and converted the three-point play after being fouled by Brooks with 34 seconds left.
Brooks made two free throws, but James dribbled for several seconds on Cleveland’s next possession and hit a jumper from the top of the key for a five-point lead with five seconds to go.
Evans had 31 points and 12 assists for Memphis. Marc Gasol scored 27 and passed 10,000 career points.