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China Daily | Updated:2017-12-02 06:55BOSTON – Its quickly becoming apparent that Kyrie Irving has become the Boston Celtics go-to guy when they need some scoring.The star guard put up 36 points as Boston held off the weary and shorthanded Philadelphia 76ers 108-97 on Thursday night to improve the NBAs best record to 19-4.It was Irvings fifth game this season with 30 or more points.Al Horford added 21 points and eight rebounds, and Marcus Morris had 17 points as the Celtics bounced back from Monday nights home loss to Detroit with their ninth victory in 11 games.”Its go time, man,” Irving said of his mindset in the fourth quarter.”Especially when the game is in the balance. Its the best time to play. Its just ultimate freedom.”Boston led by five at the end of the third quarter but started the fourth by connecting on seven of its first 11 shots to increase the margin to 95-82.Irving had nine points in the final 12 minutes.”Its a luxury. Not a lot of teams have that,” Horford said of Irvings ability to take over games. “His will to win and make those shots when we need them most just keeps impressing me game by game.”Dario Saric led Philadelphia with 18 points while JJ Redick finished with 17 and Ben Simmons had 15.”Kyrie is obviously amazing,” Redick said. “And Horford doesnt get enough credit for how good he is offensively. As good as Kyrie is, Horford is the hub of everything they do.”It was the third game in four nights for the 76ers, who have lost two of three. Saturdays game against Detroit will conclude a week featuring matchups with the Easts three top teams.Philadelphia played without center Joel Embiid, who continues to rest on the second night of back-to-backs.With Embiid out, Celtics coach Brad Stevens went with a bigger lineup, starting Aron Baynes in place of Morris.Philadelphia was able to keep the game tight by knocking down 16 3-pointers.The Celtics ended the second quarter on an 11-3 run and took a 54-44 lead into halftime. Boston shot 48 percent from the field and was 7 of 16 from beyond the 3-point line.Philadelphia erased a 12-point deficit and took a 67-65 lead in the third quarter, but Boston got hot again, ending that period on an 11-4 run that included six points by Morris.The Sixers have already played some of the leagues top teams just 21 games into the season. Thursday was their second meeting with the Celtics, and theyve also faced Golden State and Houston twice, and Cleveland.But coach Brett Brown is thankful for the tough road theyve plodded thus far.”Were playing NBA royalty right now,” Brown said.”Were playing against the leagues best. The analytics people tell us weve had the most difficult schedule to date, and it feels like that.”But I think it expedites learning. Youre always learning from All-Stars.”Associated PressPhotoTiger dazzles in long-awaited return from injuryEmotional Eli benched as Giants go with GenoLeBron tossed after tantrumBoll: China still setting the barHighlights of 2017 UK Snooker Championship Day 1Highlights of Senior U23 World Championships in Bydgoszcz, PolandMost PopularHighlightsTiger dazzles in long-awaited return from injuryEmotional Eli benched as Giants go with GenoLeBron tossed after tantrumWhats HotTiger dazzles in long-awaited return from injurySpecialNHL plays in ChinaTwo years since winning Winter Olympic bid: Snow and ice sports in ChinaWinter sports tourism escalates in China after 2022 Winter Olympics bidCharting Xis efforts to turn Winter Olympics a successBACK TO THE TOPHOMECHINAWORLDBUSINESSLIFESTYLECULTURETRAVELWATCHTHISSPORTSOPINIONREGIONALFORUMNEWSPAPERChina Daily PDFChina Daily E-paperMOBILECopyright 1995 -var oTime = new Date();
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