NEW YORK (AP) – Michael Beasley scored 28 of his season-high 32 points in the second half, helping the New York Knicks shake off a dismal return by Kristaps Porzingis to beat the Boston Celtics 102-93 on Thursday night.
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.
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.
Kyrie Irving scored 32 points for the Celtics, who lost for the second night. They played without starter Jaylen Brown because of left Achilles tendon soreness.
Jayson 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.
New York jumped to a 13-2 lead and led by 14 in the first quarter, but it appeared the Celtics were starting to take control by the third. Irving made three 3-pointers and one by Tatum gave Boston a nine-point lead midway through the period before Beasley brought the Knicks back.
He 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.