Beasley's Ascendant Fourth Pushes Knicks Over Celtics | The Knicks Wall
March 2018
« Feb    

Beasley Pushes Knicks Over Celtics in KP’s Rusty Shooting Night

The Knicks continue to ignite exciting basketball at home, the latest proof a Michael Beasley special against conference leader Boston, 102–93.

With a winning record and the way the New York Knicks (17–14) have been able to protect the Mecca, it’s not too crazy to say we’ve been spoiled by high-paced and perhaps frenetic starts from this team. Generally, with a healthy Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks establish dominance offensively by going to him early in the offense — particularly from mid-range — to be able to conjure up those loud cheers.

Tonight, KP struggled getting his shot off. Or, perhaps a better way to phrase it is, the Knicks weren’t able to feed him the ball for the looks we’re used to seeing. As teams have adjusted to sending the double-team quickly, KP is equally improving on knowing when to pass out of it. But offensively, no matter how many touches he got, the shots just didn’t fall. Compound that with a familiar foul trouble problem rearing its head, KP was eventually taken out of the Knicks’ game plan entirely. He finished the night with a single point. One. Uno.

What has become obvious through the first quarter of the NBA season is this roster is not the barely-getting-by roster we’ve been accustomed to these last few seasons. Even on a night when the franchise star is ice-cold, the squad played with no fear going up against the top seeded, staunch rival Boston Celtics (26–9). The Knicks’ main focus was going to be forcing Irving to put the ball on the floor while also taking the impressive rookie, Jayson Tatum, out of rhythm from beyond the arc.

The Celtics are among the top 10 as a three-point shooting team. The rookie Tatum by himself is shooting 50 percent so far. Although the future the elite 3-and-D player scored 17 points tonight, the perimeter defense held him to only two long-distance scores. The Knicks also took benefited immensely by the Celtics not having forward Jaylen Brown to help carry the offensive load from mid-range.

While the defense did a fair job making adjustments and getting through switches, the offense had difficulty finishing at the rim versus a long Boston front. In spite of that, Enes Kanter continues to be a double-double machine. With a short-handed Celtics coming off a demoralizing loss in their building (and their fifth game in seven nights), the other Knicks’ bigs were able to maneuver inside the paint to draw contact. The team got to the charity 26 times, with three players making six trips each.

What worked well:
  • The Knicks are moving the ball so well this year. Much of that is attributed to Jarrett Jack, Kyle O’Quinn, and turn a certain extent Frank Ntilikina. Though lately, the team collectively looks to move the ball left to right. They all use the shot clock to find the best shot available, as opposed to rushing a poor shot or giving up a turnover. With a tight perimeter defense such as Boston, that can be tough to do.

  • Add Michael Beasley to your list of Most Improved Players. Whether he’s coming off the bench as a sixth man or starting, he really is an “as advertised” player. The Knicks were able to tie it up heading into the fourth quarter and ultimately secure the win off of Beasley buckets. Despite his many “omg what are you doing Beas?!” moments, he always comes through with “inject this into my veins” basketball things like this.

What didn’t work well:
  • KP really scored one point. It’s tough to wrap your head around for two reasons: he’s a 7’3″ guy who can rise up from outside and he bulked up this summer to be able to add another dimension to his game. Aron Baynes is your textbook gritty steel curtain. KP didn’t get down on the block as often and one can only guess it’s because Baynes would have manhandled him. But as JB said in his preview, when KP can’t hit his shot from outside, he has to be fearless in playing bully ball like Kanter; especially if he’s set on remaining a 4.
  • I like Jarrett Jack. You like Jarrett Jack. Jack has resurfaced in the Garden as a legitimate NBA point guard. I did not want to see him guarding (or trying to guard) Kyrie Irving. Frankie Smokes did in fact leap over Jack in terms of minutes. So for that, this was another of those games where you feel comfortable about him being the future alongside KP and Tim Hardaway Jr. He finished with a +13 and 25 minutes on the floor, along with this lovely shot that I personally would like to see him attempt more often. Progress we can all get behind.

The Knicks fight on with a 15-5 record at home. Hopefully KP’s shot will make the Detroit trip and keep the upward swing for that 8th playoff spot alive, making Thursday’s win a possible clairvoyant trip to a 1 vs. 8 seed matchup.

James Woodruff

Fan of Knicks/Cuse hoops, Panera sandwiches, Avion Tequila, and a good whiskey. Invested in improving your 40 time.