BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 20 of his 38 points in the third quarter and the Boston Celtics held off the Memphis Grizzlies 122-116 on Friday night.
Marcus Smart had 20 points and Al Horford finished with 18 for the Celtics, who have won two straight since a three-game losing streak.
Irving also had 11 assists and seven rebounds for Boston, which beat the Grizzlies for the seventh consecutive time but had to hang on down the stretch. Memphis trailed only 111-108 with 3:13 left, but the Celtics responded with a 10-2 run. A few late 3-pointers by the Grizzlies came too late.
Memphis has lost 10 of 11 overall, and six in a row on the road.
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 26 points. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 23, and Marc Gasol had 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
Boston led 96-91 after three, but the pesky Grizzlies would not go away. Conley’s three-point play with 4:53 remaining pulled Memphis to 106-104. Irving finally sealed it when he hit a 3 with 1:22 left to put the Celtics up 118-110.
Jaylen Brown had 12 points and Terry Rozier scored 10 for Boston.
Rozier hit a 3 to start an 11-0 run that put the Celtics up 35-24 after the first quarter. Then he made another from beyond the arc while drawing a foul and converted the four-point play.
The Grizzlies rallied late in the period, tying it 52-all on a layup by JaMychal Green and taking a 62-58 halftime lead on Conley’s layup just before the buzzer.
Grizzlies: Justin Holiday had 14 points, his highest-scoring game since arriving in a trade with Chicago on Jan. 3. … Shelvin Mack scored 15 points. Green and Omri Casspi had 12 apiece. . Shot 59 percent (13 for 22) in the second quarter while outscoring Boston 38-23. . Had five turnovers in the first quarter.
Celtics: Aron Baynes had 12 rebounds in his second game back since missing a month with a broken bone in his left hand. . Turned the ball over seven times in the second period. . Irving was called for a technical with 3:27 left in the third quarter after getting tangled up in front of the Memphis bench with Mack, who also got a technical.
Grizzlies: At the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.
Celtics: Visit the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.