The Boston Celtics recovered from a poor start but couldn’t stop Michael Beasley in a 102-93 loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Beasley notched season highs with 32 points and 11 rebounds as the Knicks dealt the C’s back-to-back losses for the first time since the opening two games of the season.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting. Jayson Tatum (17 points), Al Horford (10) and Marcus Smart (10) also scored in double figures for Boston.
The Celtics fell to 26-9 with the loss, while the Knicks improved to 17-14.
Here’s how it all went down:
Jaylen Brown (Achilles), Shane Larkin (knee) and Marcus Morris (knee) didn’t play.
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
The Celtics got off to an awful start as Brad Stevens was forced to call a timeout just three minutes into the quarter after the Knicks jumped out to a 13-2 lead. New York hit six of its first seven shots, while Boston connected on only one of its first five attempts.
The Knicks increased their lead to 21-7 with an 8-0 run, during which the C’s missed six straight shots. They led 25-15 at the end of the first quarter despite making one shot in the last 4:30. The Celtics shot just 7-of-20 in the quarter, including a lackluster 1-of-7 mark from 3-point range. Irving led the C’s with nine points, while Enes Kanter paced the Knicks with eight points and six rebounds.
The Celtics went on an 8-0 run early in the second quarter to trim the deficit to 27-23, but the Knicks got their edge back up to 33-23 thanks to the C’s missing six consecutive shots.
The Knicks went five minutes without hitting a shot beginning at the eight-minute mark, but the Celtics only cut the lead to 35-32 during that stretch. Boston battled back nicely, though, and two 3-pointers from Horford and Irving pulled the Celtics within two at 40-38.
The Knicks led 44-40 at the half after shooting just 5-of-22 in the quarter. The Celtics didn’t shoot much better in the second, going 8-for-23 from the floor. Celtics big men struggled offensively, as Baynes, Horford and Daniel Theis combined to shoot 3-of-12.
Irving paced the C’s with 14 first-half points. Kanter led the Knicks with 10. Kristaps Porzingis surprisingly shot 0-of-11 in the first half despite getting several open looks.
Three 3-point shots by Irving to open the third quarter put the Celtics up 54-51. The Celtics went up 62-53 by the midway point of the quarter thanks to five made 3-pointers. The ball movement was much better for the C’s, who consistently made the extra pass to find the open man.
But the Knicks answered with a 7-0 run to close within 66-64 late in the quarter. Kyle O’Quinn’s putback slam with less than 10 seconds to play tied the game 66-66 entering the final frame. Irving’s 23 points led the C’s through 36 minutes. Kanter and Beasley paced the Knicks with 14 points apiece.
Beasley took over in the first half of the final quarter, scoring 18 points over the final 12 minutes to help New York build a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The Knicks pushed their advantage to 89-81 with just a few minutes remaining in the quarter as the C’s struggled from the field. A 12-4 run over a three-minute span beginning at the midway point of the quarter basically put the game out of reach for the C’s.
The Celtics had a chance with less than a minute to play. They trailed 99-93 with the ball and 37.1 seconds remaining but Irving’s 3-point shot rimmed out, effectively ending any hope Boston had of winning the game.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Tatum attacks the basket and scores with a sweet reverse layup.
The Celtics return to TD Garden for a Saturday night game against the Chicago Bulls at 7:30 p.m. ET.