Sport

Beasley bags 30 as Knicks spoil Anthony's Garden party

Monday, December 18, 2017

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NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Michael Beasley had the hot hand as the New York Knicks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-96 on Saturday, spoiling the return of Carmelo Anthony to Madison Square Garden.

Beasley shot 11-of-18 from the field to tally 30 points as six players scored in double figures for the Knicks, who improved to 16-13 on the season.

“Mike has been fantastic,” Knicks Coach Jeff Hornacek said. “He is engaged in practice, he talks with the guys, he is a smart basketball player.”

“[Beasley] really understands the game,” Hornacek added.

“Some of that stuff he does is effortless. He had a fantastic game.”

Anthony struggled in his return, making just five field goals and finishing with 12 points, including none in the second half.

Anthony, who was featured in a highlight video during the introductions, heard cheers from the crowd of 19,800, but also a smattering of boos.

This was Anthony's first trip back to the Garden as a member of the Thunder since being traded in September for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a draft pick.

Anthony helped lead New York to its first division title in 19 years in the 2012-2013 season and averaged nearly 25 points per game in his six-plus-year stint with the Knicks.

But Anthony has scored more than 25 points just once in his last 26 games with the Thunder.

“The video montage caught me by surprise,” Anthony said. “I wasn't expecting it. I was waiting for my name to be called.”

He thanked Knicks' executives Scott Perry and Steve Mills “for making the gesture. That goes a long way.”

There was plenty of interest in this matchup and not just because of Anthony's involvement. This was a battle between two hot NBA teams as the Knicks had won four of their last five and the Thunder had won six of their last eight.

Courtney Lee had 20 points and McDermott added 13 off the bench to lead the Knicks, who were without leading scorer Kristaps Porzingis, sidelined by left knee soreness.

Russell Westbrook had 25 points to lead the Thunder, who were outscored 23-31 in the fourth quarter.

Paul George added 18 points for Oklahoma City, who shot just 42 per cent from the field and 60 per cent from the free-throw line.

Elsewhere, Josh Richardson scored 28 points and Coach Erik Spoelstra passed his mentor Pat Riley in franchise wins with his 455th as the Miami Heat defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 90-85.

Miami fended off a tremendous effort from DeAndre Jordan at the American Airlines Arena. The star of a watered-down Clippers line-up scored 12 points and had 20 rebounds.

Jordan has a season-best four consecutive double-doubles and seven double-doubles in his last eight starts.

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