Beasley scores 32, carries Knicks past Celtics, 102-93
By BRIAN MAHONEY
Dec. 22, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Beasley started heating up in the third quarter, and he really poured it on the fourth.
So when did he know he had the hot hand?
"Jan. 9, 1989," Beasley said.
Yes, Beasley started believing he would make every shot he took on the day he was born.
He made most of them in the second half Thursday night, when he scored 28 of his season-high 32 points to help the New York Knicks shake off a dismal return by Kristaps Porzingis and beat the Boston Celtics 102-93.
Beasley went back to the bench with Porzingis back from a knee injury, but he was on the floor in the fourth quarter while Porzingis watched from the sideline as the former No. 2 overall pick punished the Celtics inside and out to help the Knicks pull away.
Porzingis was 0 for 11 from the field and finished with one point after missing two games with a sore left knee. The "MVP! MVP!" chants he has heard this season instead went to Beasley, who also had 12 rebounds.
"I'm just out here doing what I got to do," Beasley said. "It's nice to hear but I am pretty sure it's for KP."
He surpassed the 30 points he scored last Saturday against Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City with a jumper with 1:06 remaining that stopped a little run by Boston and gave New York an eight-point lead. The Knicks held on for their fifth victory in six games.
The Celtics appeared to be taking control in the third quarter. Kyrie Irving made three 3-pointers and one by Jayson Tatum gave Boston a nine-point lead midway through the period.
Beasley then made three consecutive Knicks baskets late in the period to keep it close and it was 68-all going to the fourth. It was still tied before Beasley outscored the Celtics 11-4 to give New York an 86-79 lead, and Boston never got closer than six again.
Asked what changed for his team, coach Brad Stevens responded: "Beasley made every shot."
"This is something that I don't lose too much sleep over, to be honest," he added. "You make it as tough as you possibly can and sometimes guys make baskets and that was the case tonight."
Not for Porzingis, who said his struggles had nothing to do with his knee.
"Not at all. Just wasn't in rhythm," he said. "Early on the game just didn't come to me. I tried to make some passes and I think I did the right thing a lot of times, but I just missed a few of my shots and then was out of the game."
Irving scored 32 points for the Celtics, who played without starter Jaylen Brown because of left Achilles tendon soreness. Tatum added 17 points.
The Knicks were blown out in Boston to cap their 0-3 start but have since turned things around behind a home-heavy schedule. They have 15 of their 17 victories at Madison Square Garden, where a sellout crowd of 19,812 grew louder with every Beasley basket against the Eastern Conference leaders.
Boston dropped two in a row for the first time since its 0-2 start.
"It is what it is. It happens," Irving said. "So for now, presently, where we are, just pick ourselves up and move on to I believe, Chicago (on) Saturday."
Celtics: Brown had appeared in 32 of Boston's 34 games, all starts. Stevens said Brown told the team recently he had been feeling soreness for a little bit and the decision to rest him was the team "told been bothering him for a little bit couple days ago, just getting out ahead of it. ... G Shane Larkin was out with a sore left knee. Stevens said Larkin felt pain during Wednesday's game and felt worse Thursday so they would send him for testing Friday after they return to Boston.
Knicks: Enes Kanter, who Stevens said before the game always hurts the Celtics, had 14 points and 10 rebounds. ... Coach Jeff Hornacek said Tim Hardaway Jr., out with a lower left leg stress injury, was able to do more shooting and light jumping, but still no running.
Gordon Hayward, out since breaking his left ankle in the season opener, wrote a blog post titled "Improving Every Day" to provide an update on his recovery and thoughts about the team. Hayward recently had his walking boot removed and is now wearing a brace while he does his rehab.
"The mental side of it is 100% the most difficult ," he wrote.
Beasley is the first NBA player since starts were recorded in the 1970-71 season to come off the bench and have at least 32 points and 12 rebounds while playing 25 minutes or fewer. He was the first Knicks sub ever with a 32-12 game, according to research provided to the Knicks by Elias.
Celtics: Host Chicago on Saturday night.
Knicks: At Detroit on Friday night.
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