Kyrie Irving had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists before a Madison Square Garden crowd eager to start the free-agent wooing five months early, and the Boston Celtics beat the Knicks, 113-99, on Friday night.
It was the Knicks’ first game since trading Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas. The deal gave the Knicks money to chase two top free agents this summer, and fans showed Irving that they want him to be one of them, cheering him before and during his return from a two-game absence with a hip injury.
Marcus Morris added 18 points for the Celtics, who won for the eighth time in nine games. Damyean Dotson scored 22 points and Kevin Knox had 21 for the Knicks, who dropped their 12th straight.
Irving, one of the headline names in the potential 2019 free-agent class, said at a Celtics fan event last fall that he intended to re-sign in Boston. But h e told reporters at the morning shootaround to “Ask me July 1” if his plans had changed.
Irving received a loud ovation when the starting lineups were announced and again when he touched the ball early in the game. A brief “We want Kyrie! We want Kyrie!” chant echoed through the arena in the third quarter.
The players the Knicks acquired from the Mavericks — Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews — were not available, so the Knicks started with a backcourt of Dotson and Kadeem Allen.
NETS’ RUSSELL AN ALL-STAR Nets guard D’Angelo Russell was selected for the N.B.A. All-Star Game, Commissioner Adam Silver announced.
Russell, the Nets’ first All-Star since Joe Johnson in the 2013-14 season, was named as an injury replacement for Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo. It is the first All-Star honor for Russell, who is in his fourth season. He has averaged 19.6 points, 6.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds a game this season.
Silver also announced that Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat had been added for the game, which will take place Feb. 17 in Charlotte, N.C.
It will be the 14th All-Star appearance for Nowitzki, who is probably playing his final season, and the 13th for Wade, who is retiring at season’s end.
(FIELD LEVEL MEDIA)