BOSTON (AP) – Kyrie Irving heard all of the doubts when the Celtics, who were among the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, still had a .500 record through Thanksgiving.
The low point may have been a home loss to the Knicks that snapped New York’s six-game losing streak.
“I was thinking about it since we lost to them,” the Celtics point guard said after scoring 22 points to coast past the Knicks 128-100 on Thursday night and exact a measure of revenge for the embarrassing earlier loss. “I remember players from other teams asking about what’s going on when we were 10-10.”
Irving also had eight assists before leaving the game with about four minutes left, rubbing his right shoulder and swinging it around in pain. He raised his hand for coach Brad Stevens to take him out of the game but couldn’t get his attention and instead walked to the bench at the next whistle.
The shoulder was wrapped in ice when he walked off the court at the end of the game. Irving thought it was his AC joint and said he would be OK.
JAZZ 118, ROCKETS 91
In Salt Lake City, Derrick Favors had 24 points and 10 rebounds off the bench to help the Utah Jazz overcome Rudy Gobert’s quick ejection and coast to a 118-91 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.
Joe Ingles added 18 points and six rebounds for the Jazz. Utah (13-13) won for the fourth time in five games to climb back to .500.
James Harden scored 15 points while Chris Paul and Clint Capela added 12 apiece for the Rockets. Houston (11-13) allowed an opponent to pull away in the second half for a second straight game after committing a season-high 22 turnovers and giving up a season-high 33 points off those turnovers.
BLAZERS 108, SUNS 86
In Portland, Damian Lillard had 25 points and eight assists before sitting for the final quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 108-86 rout of the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.
Jake Layman came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points for the Blazers, who had lost six of their last seven games. Portland led by as many as 31 points.
Troy Daniels had a season-high 15 points for the struggling Suns, who were held to nine points in the first quarter for the second consecutive game and have lost seven straight. Phoenix has just four victories this season, and just one on the road.