Celtics, minus Kyrie, still edge Raptors

Al Horford of the Celtics says he and the rest of Isaiah Thomas' former teammates are happy he's returned to the court, though he won't play in his first trip back to Boston.

Al Horford scored 21 points on an icy 8-of-9 shooting, and the Boston Celtics won their 12th straight in spite of the absence of Kyrie Irving, 95-94 over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

“They are the best team in the NBA right now, 12 in a row,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry told reporters. “They’re playing unbelievable, everyone is picking up slack.”

Fellow Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, but missed a turnaround jumper to win it with 2 seconds left. Serge Ibaka grabbed the offensive rebound, only to lose the ball as time ticked away.

Lowry added 19 points and seven rebounds.

Jaylen Brown added 18 points for the Celtics, and Terry Rozier helped replace the loss of Irving with 16 points off the bench.

Irving missed his first game of the season after receiving an inadvertent elbow to the face from teammate Aaron Baynes.