Micheal Beasley came off the bench and scored a season high 32 points to lift the Knicks over the division leading Boston Celtics by the score of 102-93 in front of a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden.
Boston came in off a loss at the hands of the Heat. And after winning 16 straight earlier this year, the Celtics have cooled off, and are 4-4 in their last 8 games. The Knicks meanwhile lost in Charlotte by 16 in their last outing in a lackluster performance, being down by 25 for most of the game. They were without their two leading scorers, Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway who remained sidelined with a lower leg injury. Porzingis missed the last two games with knee injury. Despite the injuries, the Knicks came into the game winning four out of their last five games.
The crowd was loud and boisterous at the start as the Knicks surged to a 15-3 lead to start the game. Boston struggled from the floor at the outset. Courtney Lee hit a three pointer and Boston called an early time out. Enes Kanter, who averages 13 pts and ten rebs per game, was a force in the paint early. He finished the half with 10 pts and 10 rebs. Kyrie Irving kept Boston close with 9 pts in the first quarter. The Knicks led 25-15 at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter was ugly on both sides offensively, with both teams forcing turnovers, and shooting poorly. Porzingis was rusty after being sidelined for two games, and failed to score in the first half. Al Horford contested every shot and shut the Knicks leading scorer down.
Porzingis(25ppg) was 0-8 in the first half. The Knicks were plagued by poor shooting and turnovers, forced by Boston’s tough defensive play in the second quarter. Behind the scoring of Irving and Jayson Tatum Boston cut the lead to four at halftime, 44-40.
The Knicks continued their sloppy play with turnovers and poor shooting to start the second half. The Celtics took advantage with Irving and Tatum leading the way. Tatum drove into the lane and made a spectacular up and under move, going to his left hand, and put the Celtics up nine midway through the third quarter. It looked like the Celtics were rolling. Then Porzingis, who was 0-11 from the floor, and one point for the game, sat down and Micheal Beasley came in. Beasley was unstoppable with 10pts in the quarter. Driving in the lane and scoring or pulling up for short jump shots. Everything was falling for him and the Celtics had no answer. Irving missed a three with five seconds left, the Knicks rebounded got an outlet pass to Lee who drove to the basket and missed but Kyle O’Quinn was there to stuff the rebound home at the buzzer and tie the game at 68. The Garden erupted and the Knicks had momentum going to the fourth quarter.
With the Garden crowd behind them, it was the Knicks second team of Ron Baker and Frank Ntilkina in the backcourt, Doug McDermott, O’Quinn and Beasley up front, who would be the difference in the game for NY. Ntilkina and McDermott hit big threes down the stretch Baker played solid defense and and O’Quinn scored some big baskets. But it was the Micheal Beasley show in the fourth quarter, scoring 18 in the quarter as the Knicks outscored Boston in the fourth 34-25. With the score 99-93 McDermott turned the ball over with 37 seconds left. And Boston had life. But after a timeout Irving missed a three and Beasley swooped through the lane and grabbed a big rebound to ice it for NY. Beasley scored 28 of his 32 points in the second half on 13-20 from the floor, and 12 rebounds. Kanter finished with 14 pts and 10 boards. Jarrod Jack and Courtney Lee had 12 points apiece. Irving finished with 32, on 12 of 27 shooting. Tatum had 17. NY out rebounded Boston 49-35 and outscored Boston 40-24 in the paint.
It’s been a long time since Knick fans have had anything the cheer about. But that seems to be changing as the Knicks improve to 15-5 at home this year. Another big win at home vs. the top team in the East.