Shane Larkin was called upon under the worst circumstances imaginable. After the Boston Celtics watched stars Gordon Hayward and Al Horford suffer injuries early in the season, point guard Kyrie Irving suddenly became the last star standing - until he wasn't. Irving was nailed in the head early in Friday night's game against the Charlotte Hornets, forcing him into the concussion protocol and endangering the Celtics once again. Luckily, they still had plenty of players ready to guide them to victory, including Larkin.

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Larkin loaded

Less than two minutes into Friday night's game, Irving was gone. By the end of halftime, he wasn't even in the TD Garden anymore. His absence granted Larkin plenty of room to seize the limelight.

In 17 minutes, he scored 16 points, which matched the best mark for any member of the Celtics for the night. He made two of three treys and was a team-high plus-15 for the night. Just for good measure, he put Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb into the spin cycle.

His scoring may have masked some inefficiencies, as he grabbed just one rebound and didn't dish a single assist, despite being a natural point guard. Maybe he was just a bit nervous - it was the most playing time he's received since October 24. In fact, it's only the second time Larkin has scored in the month of November. But his contributions were enough, as the Celtics held on for a 90-87 victory, their 11th in a row.

Celtics win again

Despite Larkin's heroics, the Celtics almost blew it thanks to a strange shot attempt from big man Marcus Morris.

He quickly atoned for his sins, however, playing great defense on Kemba Walker and preventing the Hornets from sending the game into overtime. Morris finished with 14 points, while rookie Jayson Tatum scored 16 and point guard Terry Rozier scored 15 off the bench.

Less than a month into the season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has already locked up every pending Coach of the Year accolade. His team went through a massive turnover during the offseason, then saw the fruits of that transition decimated by injury, night after night. Yet since the opening two losses, Boston has not lost a game, as Stevens has coaxed the most out of unheralded players, such as Larkin and Rozier. A team this injured with a lesser coach may not even have a winning record, let alone the best record in the NBA.

The Celtics will get a day to rest up before they face their biggest Atlantic Division foe - the Toronto Raptors - on Sunday afternoon.