Kyrie Irving's double-double, 8 steals lead Celtics past Heat

Yahoo Sports
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4840/" data-ylk="slk:Kyrie Irving">Kyrie Irving</a> dropped 26 points and 10 assists on Monday night to lead the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/boston/" data-ylk="slk:Boston Celtics">Boston Celtics</a> past the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/miami/" data-ylk="slk:Miami Heat">Miami Heat</a> for their fourth straight win. (AP/Winslow Townson)
Kyrie Irving dropped 26 points and 10 assists on Monday night to lead the Boston Celtics past the Miami Heat for their fourth straight win. (AP/Winslow Townson)

Kyrie Irving is back at it, proving yet again that he’s committed to leading the Boston Celtics back in the right direction.

Irving dropped 26 points and had 10 assists at TD Garden on Monday night in Boston, leading the Celtics to a 107-99 win against the Miami Heat — their fourth straight win. Irving also had a league-high eight steals in the win.

It seemed like there was nothing the Heat could do to stop him, either, as evidenced by one insane assist he pulled off early in the third quarter.

While up six points just minutes after halftime, Irving picked up a steal from Josh Richardson and took off toward the other end of the floor. As he cut to the basket, multiple Heat players went to head him off. So, Irving expertly flipped the ball between his legs to a wide-open Marcus Smart, who buried the corner 3-pointer.

That helped spark a massive 20-6 run that gave the Celtics a 22-point lead early into the fourth quarter, which allowed them to cruise to the eight-point win. The Heat, who have now lost three of their last four, held only a brief two-point lead during the contest.

Jayson Tatum finished with 19 points in the win, shooting 8-of-13 from the field. Marcus Morris added 17 points, and Al Horford finished with a double-double 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Derrick Jones Jr. and Dion Waters led the Heat with 18 points each off the bench. Bam Adebayo added 13 points, and Richardson finished with 11. Richardson was the only starter to hit double figures.

Irving’s Martin Luther King Jr. tribute

Irving addressed the crowd at TD Garden before the game against the Heat, paying tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

22 of the 30 NBA teams took the court on MLK Day on Monday, part of a special slate of games on the holiday honoring one of the most iconic leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States.

While wearing an “I have a dream” warmup shirt, Irving walked out to center court and addressed the arena while both teams looked on.

”Tonight, we celebrate and honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, a man who truly embodies what it means to be a leader, a visionary and a dreamer,” Irving said. ”But I think what we most remember him for is for his stance and his action. He fought for justice, equality and, most importantly, peace for all. So, on behalf of the Celtics organization with everybody here, we honor Dr. Martin Luther King today.”

Irving said after the game that he was nervous leading up to his pregame speech. However, because of his status as an NBA player, he felt like he needed to do it.

“The Celtics asked me to do it and I happily obliged,” he said, via the Boston Sports Journal’s Brian Robb. “I was kind of nervous thinking about it, last night, just what to say that would really explain how great of a man he was and what he meant to our society and what he means to me.

“For me to be standing here today, to know that the sacrifices of him and countless others have enabled me to be here today and play a game that I love and spread a message to other young people that have a lot of history to learn about, of what this world actually looked like in the past and what it looks like going forward. The next generation is next up and it’s my job to continue to be a pioneer and speak up about social justice, inequality and ultimately, peace, so just happily obliged to do it.”

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