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Beasley stars as Knicks upset Celtics; Cavs win
December 23, 2017
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Los Angeles:Michael Beasley was the unlikely hero in the New York Knicks’ upset of NBA Eastern Conference leaders Boston Thursday, exploding for 32 points to fuel a 102-93 triumph over the Celtics.

Beasley’s effort off the bench -- including 28 points in the second half -- had “M-V-P” chants ringing around Madison Square Garden.

He more than compensated for Kristaps Porzingis’ worst NBA game: an 0-for-11 shooting display that yielded one point and saw the Knicks’ Latvian star sit out the final 17 minutes.

With the Knicks down by nine, Beasley came in for Porzingis with 5:37 left in the third quarter and promptly scored 10 points in five minutes.

His jump shot sealed the victory with 1:06 left to play, handing the Celtics a second defeat in as many nights after a one-point loss to the Miami Heat in Boston on Wednesday.

“Mike knows his role. If KP’s out he obviously gets the bigger minutes,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said.

“I thought he played great in filling in for him. He really helped us get some points on the board.”

Kyrie Irving scored 32 points for the Celtics, who lost back-to-back games for the first time this campaign.

Elsewhere, DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 45 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 114-109 comeback victory over the 76ers in Philadelphia and the Cleveland Cavaliers warmed up for their NBA Finals rematch with the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day with a hard-fought 115-112 home win over the Chicago Bulls.

DeRozan made 13 of his 21 shots from the floor, including six of nine from three-point range.

Australian rookie Ben Simmons scored 20 points to pace the 76ers, who were without Cameroonian center Joel Embiid, their leading scorer and rebounder, for a third straight game because of tightness in his back.

Kyle Lowry added 23 points for the Raptors, who erased a 22-point third-quarter deficit to win their fifth straight and 11th in 12 games.

They are now just 1.5 games behind the Celtics in the East, with the Cavaliers a further game back.

Agence France-Presse

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