Posted on December 22, 2017, by Travis Pulver
New York Knicks fans knew they were in for a treat Thursday night when their team took on the mighty Boston Celtics. They’ve been playing well at home all season, but a win was far from guaranteed against the Celtics. But with Kristaps Porzingis returning to the lineup, their chances certainly looked a lot better.
As it turned out, Porzingis was a great big dud in his first game back after missing the last two. In 23 minutes, he went 0-11 from the floor and ended up recording just a single point on the night. But Michael Beasley picked up the slack and led the team to a 102-93 win over the Celtics.
“Kobe (Bryant) says you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take; today I missed all hundred,” Porzingis said after the game (ESPN).
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Beasley came off the bench to lead the way for the Knicks with 32 points on the night. Eighteen of those points came in the fourth quarter when he got a very hot hand and hit seven of ten shots. After the game, he acted like it was something he does all the time.
“I’m just out here doing what I have to do,” Beasley said (ESPN). “It is nice to hear [MVP chants], but I’m pretty sure those chants were for KP.”
His confidence is nothing new. Before the season began, he made some comments suggesting that he was one of four Knicks that could average 25 points a game. His career best came back during the 2010-11 season when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves (19.2 points/game.
Heading into Thursday night’s game, he was averaging 10.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 17.2 minutes in 24 appearances. He ended the night with 32 points and 12 rebounds becoming the first player to come off the bench and record a 30/10 stat line this season.
The Knicks got a little help from the Celtics in the form of an ice-cold start to the game. New York got out to a 13-2 lead after making six of their first seven shots. An 8-0 saw them stretch the lead out to 21-7. When the quarter finally ended, the Celtics had hit just seven of 20 shots and were down 25-15.
In the second quarter, the Knicks were nice enough to return the favor and went ice cold (5-22). Boston didn’t shoot much better (8-23), so the Knicks still led at the half, 44-40.
Boston tried to take control of the game in the third and even got out to a nine-point lead at one point, 62-53. But the Knicks were able to battle back and tie the game up at 66-66 heading into the fourth—which is when Beasley took over.
“[Beasley] hit a bunch of tough shots. Credit him,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said (ESPN). “I don’t think it was as much a breakdown as he got raised up over guys, whether it was Semi [Ojeleye], Al, Marcus [Smart], whoever was on him, he just got into that rhythm….”
The loss gives the Celtics their first two-game losing streak since they started the season with losses to Cleveland and Milwaukee. It was almost a three-game losing streak but the Celtics narrowly escaped Monday night’s game against the Pacers with a win. But no one is ready to hit the panic button just yet.
“It is what it is. It happens,” Kyrie Irving said after the game (ESPN). “So for now, presently, where we are, just pick ourselves up and move on to I believe, Chicago (on) Saturday.”
The Bulls will be in Boston to face the Celtics Saturday night. The Knicks will be back in action Friday night when they travel to Detroit.