Irving suffered a facial fracture Friday in Boston's 90-87 victory over Charlotte when Australian teammate Aron Baynes elbowed him accidentally. He sat out Sunday when the Celtics beat Toronto for their 12th straight victory.
Irving is expected to remain in the mask for the next couple of weeks, including Thursday's showdown with the visiting Golden State Warriors. He has had to wear a mask before to protect injuries, and says he doesn't like it but understands it is necessary for his safety.
"It's broken", he said with a laugh.
"It sure looks like Boston is the team of the future in the East, with the assets that they still have and their young talent and their coaching, and Kyrie [Irving] is awesome", Kerr said after practice Tuesday. He then put the finishing touches on the win with a 22-foot pull-up jumper and a drive to the rim, giving the Celtics a 99-92 lead shortly after consecutive 3-pointer by Brooklyn's Allen Crabbe made it a four-point game.
Irving, who played his first six seasons in Cleveland before coming to Boston in an offseason trade that sent Isaiah Thomas to the Cavs, has been a catalyst for his new team.
And he thinks that without having to worry about James, Irving has been able to flourish.
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Kyrie Irving has led the Boston Celtics to a stunning 13-game winning streak and a league-best 13-2 record.
While Irving scored 25 points for the third time as a Celtic, four others reached double figures. He had a game-high 25 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in Tuesday's win, bringing his season averages to 20.6 points, 5.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds.
An inability to contain Irving down the stretch sent the Nets to a seventh loss in nine games since beating Cleveland on October 25.
"I thought guys competed", Nets Coach Kenny Atkinson said. "We didn't handle it".
Joe Harris scored 19 points and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who are without leading scorer D'Angelo Russell because of a bruised left knee. "It just goes to show when you play against good teams, great teams, in fact, you can't just have little strings here and there". Get the app and get the game.
"I'm glad I get to wear a clear one".