Kyrie Irving leads Boston with 32 winning points despite Antetokounmpo's huge night – ESPN

1:25 AM ET

BOSTON — Looking for a knockout punch during Monday’s visit from the Milwaukee Bucks, Kyrie Irving dribbled between his legs three times then once behind his back before jab-stepping his defender. Creating maybe a sliver of space, the Boston Celtics point guard rose up over 6-foot-7 Khris Middleton and effortlessly lofted a 27-foot bomb that exploded through the cylinder.

Irving, having capped his 32-point night (and maybe expecting the Bucks to call a timeout), ripped off the protective facemask he has worn since early November and exulted after a late-game dagger that helped Boston emerge with a 111-100 triumph.

Irving, still recovering from a facial fracture beneath his right eye, is hoping to shed the mask for good later this week, though it has hardly hindered him over the past month and certainly not on Monday.

Irving and Giannis Antetokounmpo engaged in a fascinating second-half duel, with the Greek Freak trying to rally his team back from 20 points down and Irving ensuring there would be no comeback.

The win spoiled Greek Night at TD Garden, where flag-totting fans cheered appreciatively for the visiting star but serenaded Irving with his usual “MVP” chants.

Irving is now averaging 26.4 points while shooting 53.6 percent overall and 45.4 percent beyond the 3-point arc in the 11 games he has worn a mask. But even after another brilliant outing, Irving left no doubt as to the future of his mask.

“I’m ready to take that s— off. I’ve been ready to take it off since I wore it,” Irving said. “Four weeks, OK guys? Four weeks. So I think Saturday [is the final day with the mask]. Saturday. The countdown begins.”

The Celtics host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday before visiting the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night in

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