BOSTON – Kyrie Irving got a trim at the barber shop during the day.


 


 


 


Then the Celtics five-time All-Star cut down the Detroit Pistons later that night.


 


 


 


Irving spent part of the afternoon getting his afro-style haircut scaled back and his beard tidied up. The Irving more familiar-looking to Celtics fans from his first season in Boston off the court then took on his [...]

BOSTON – Kyrie Irving got a trim at the barber shop during the day.

 

 

 

Then the Celtics five-time All-Star cut down the Detroit Pistons later that night.

 

 

 

Irving spent part of the afternoon getting his afro-style haircut scaled back and his beard tidied up. The Irving more familiar-looking to Celtics fans from his first season in Boston off the court then took on his persona on the court as he struck for 31 points, five rebounds and five assists in a 108-105 victory Tuesday night at TD Garden.

 

 

 

“It feels good,” Irving said. “But also the mindset of just taking (the shots) as well. I’ve been playing for a few years – not as long as my counterparts. But managing the first part of the season, I think my focus became not just on myself, but how do I become a better leader on this team, as well as the other leaders that we have?

 

 

 

“If that meant sacrificing a game or two to really emphasize moving the basketball and getting these guys going, then so be it. That’s the unique challenge of this season is to find that balance when to put the pedal to the (metal).”

 

 

 

Irving came into the night averaging just 14.0 points, shooting 39.1 percent overall, and 29.1 percent on 3-pointers. But he hit 10-of-16 shots overall, and 4-of-7 behind the arc, in Boston’s third straight triumph on Tuesday.

 

 

 

“Law of averages,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, “which means he’s got a few more (nights like these) coming, right? He’s way too good of a scorer for the ball not to go in for very long. All that stuff evens out over time.”

 

 

 

Jayson Tatum scored 16 points, Marcus Morris scored 15 points with nine rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench and Jaylen Brown scored 14 for Boston.

 

 

 

“Even if (Irving) doesn’t have it going,” Morris said, “it still draws a lot of attention. Not matter what he’s a great player. Missed shots happen. He’s not going to keep missing – I can tell you that.

 

 

 

“The best thing I can do is continue to play off him, and continue to play my game, and it’s going to happen for all of us.”

 

 

 

Blake Griffin had 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Pistons.

 

 

 

An 8-2 run in the final minute got the Pistons within 103-102 in the final seconds when Tatum knocked down a pair of free throws for a three-point game with 10.5 ticks to go. Marcus Smart then tipped away Detroit’s pass up the court and Irving dove to the floor to secure the possession.

 

 

 

Irving capped his night with a pair of free throws for a five-point game.

 

 

 

Reggie Bullock nailed a deep 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds on the clock before Tatum punctuated the triumph with a free throw in the final second.

 

 

 

“The game was a lot closer than it felt,” Irving said. “It was more or less on us executing down the stretch. But I felt like we had some good instances when we played hard, got out in transition.”

 

 

 

A 14-point lead was down to one when Irving drove for a 92-89 lead with 4:04 left and Brown finished a strong drive for a five-point lead. Detroit followed with a turnover and Morris stepped into a jumper for a 96-89 lead with 3:08 to play.

 

 

 

Bullock’s 3-pointer got Detroit back within four and Griffin drove for a 96-94 game with 2:23 remaining before Irving kissed the glass for a four-point game with 2:00 to play.

 

 

 

The teams exchanged misses before a Detroit turnover gave the ball back to Boston with 1:19 on the clock.

 

 

 

That’s when Irving found Brown for a 3-pointer and 101-94 lead with 1:06 left.

 

 

 

“I thought Jaylen and Kyrie had the most juice on of our group,” Stevens said. “They kept us afloat there for a while. Then we were able to push it out from there. They did a lot of good things.”

 

 

 

Detroit got within a basket with five in a row when Morris hit two free throws for a 103-99 lead with 15.1 seconds to play.

 

 

 

Ish Smith’s deep 3-pointer made it a one-point game with 11.2 seconds on the clock before Irving and Tatum closed it out.

 

 

 

“That’s what basketball is about,” Brown said of Irving’s night. “When someone gets it going, it’s fun. It’s fun that way. It's fun to see your brother succeed and it puts a smile on your face.”