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76er Butler aims dig at ex-teammates, Irving finds 'peace' in 43-point haul for Celtics

Jimmy Butler had a messy break-up with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

KYRIE IRVING HAS described the “peaceful” feeling of being in the zone after starring in a thrilling overtime win for the Boston Celtics against the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

irving-cropped_1dxfnooe27u4w1k4mqy7mvhdfj Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving.

The game pitted two of the sport’s biggest stars against each other, as Irving shared a court with Raptors small forward Kawhi Leonard at TD Garden.

But it was Irving who came out on top in a 123-116 win, shooting 18 of 26 from the floor to finish with 43 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter. He also dished out 11 assists.

Source: NBA/YouTube

The 26-year-old contributed to every Celtics basket in overtime, scoring four and handing out four assists.

“It’s pretty peaceful,” the Celtics guard said. “Other than fatigue, I don’t think anything else is really on my mind other than just the next play that needs to happen on both ends of the floor.”

The victory was a much-needed confidence boost for a Celtics side that had lost four of their past six matches and are now 9-6 for the season, and Irving welcomed the opportunity for Boston to test themselves against the Eastern Conference’s form side.

“[Leonard] is one of the greatest players in our game right now, obviously, so much respect,” he told ESPN.

“Going against a great team with great complementary players is always awesome, but we wanted to come out and be the aggressive team.

“We got kind of stalled in the third quarter but we picked it up in the stretch.

“Both teams looked totally different than we did playing in the second game of the season [a 113-101 win for the Raptors]. It’s great to see growth. We’ll see more growth throughout the season, which I’m appreciative of.”

Team-mate Gordon Hayward hailed his Celtics colleague’s contribution, adding: “Man, he made some shots tonight where you’re just like, ‘Wow.’”

“You catch yourself being a fan. When he gets into that mode, the whole arena knew where we were going, and so did the Raptors. They just couldn’t stop him.”

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Source: NBA/YouTube

In Philadelphia, Jimmy Butler scored 28 points in his home debut for the 76ers, leading the way in a 113-107 victory over the Utah Jazz.

The four-time All-Star, acquired on Monday from the Minnesota Timberwolves, aimed a thinly-veiled dig at his former team in his post-game interview.

“It’s so fun to win. So much more fun to play with these guys,” Butler told NBC Sports after his 12-of-15 shooting performance.

“Everybody wants to win, and when somebody messes up, you talk to them and they do their job.”

Butler received a warm welcome from Philly fans and made a quick impact as the hosts seized a 16-point lead in the first quarter.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Philadelphia 76ers Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butlerwith guard JJ Redick during their win against the Utah Jazz. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The Jazz dug in to make it close, and the teams traded the lead six times in the fourth quarter.

Ben Simmons drove for a layup that put Philadelphia up 109-107 with 58.7 seconds remaining, and Butler drained a jump shot to stretch the lead, then drew an offensive foul from the Jazz.

Joel Embiid, who scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, capped the scoring with two free throws and the Sixers improved to 10-7.

Butler, whose first game with the Sixers was Wednesday’s loss at Orlando, also contributed seven assists, three rebounds and two steals.

© – AFP, 2018 

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