When asked during the postgame interview when exactly he got the hot hand, Michael Beasley cited the day he was born. Whether you agree with that or not (cite his entire NBA career) it was showing on Thursday night, as he put up 32 points in the New York Knicks' 102-93 upset of the struggling Boston Celtics. The total was a season-high for the veteran, who put up 28 of those points in the second half. The big night for Beasley helped New York overcome a rough return for Kristpas Porzingis, who was held scoreless in the first half on 0-for-11 shooting. Beasley took over and heard the chants of "MVP!" while adding 12 rebounds in a double-double effort. Kyrie Irving had 32 points for the Celtics, who dropped consecutive games for the first time since beginning the season 0-2. They were without Jaylen Brown due to left Achilles soreness, as Jayson Tatum stepped in to put up 17 points in the loss. The Knicks also got off to a rough start to begin the season at 0-3, but they have used home success to turn things around, with 15 of their 17 wins coming at Madison Square Garden. They will hit the road right away against the Detroit Pistons Friday night. Boston will be off to Chicago to battle the recently-hot Bulls.
Cavs Cool off Bulls at Home
The Chicago Bulls are nowhere near playoff contention due to a horrible start, but they have gone on a bit of a run as of late. That was until they matched up with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night, as LeBron James put up 34 points and nine assists in a 115-112 victory, snapping the Bulls' win streak at seven. The victory for the Cavs was their 12th in a row at home, as they also improved to 19-2 since November 11th. Kevin Love added 27 in the win, as the bigger story came during pregame, where injured point guard Isaiah Thomas took part in the layup line. He has been ruled out for Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors, but reports say that he could return any day after that. Cleveland is now 3-0 on the season against the Bulls, as big defense from Dwayne Wade down the stretch helped hold the Bulls down. The veteran had three steals and two blocks in the fourth quarter. The Bulls lost for the first time since December 6th, which was the end of a 10-game losing streak at the time. Lauri Markkanen had 25 points, while Denzel Valentine chipped in 18 in their 21st loss of the season. Chicago dropped to 3-13 on the road this season, as Cleveland sits nearly opposite with a 14-4 record on their home floor.
DeRozan's Career Night Powers Raptors
The Toronto Raptors once again are one of the most underrated teams in the Eastern Conference, as they remain on the tails of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference. On Thursday, it was DeMar DeRozan who took the reigns in Philadelphia to lead his Raptors in a comeback against the Sixers for a 114-109 win. DeRozan put up a career-high 45 points to help Toronto overcome a 22-point deficit en route to their fifth straight win. The Raptors' leading scorer added a career-high six three-pointers on nine attempts, after coming in to the game as a 28 percent shooter from beyond the arc. Toronto's deficit was over 20 as late as the first few minutes of the third quarter, but the Raptors outscored the Joel Embiid-less Sixers by 18 in the second half. DeRozan finished 13-of-15 from the free throw line, including four huge free throws in the final seconds. Kyle Lowry added 23 points for the Raptors, who have also won 11 of their past 12 games overall. Ben Simmons tried to overcome Embiid's absence with 20 points, but had seven of Philadelphia's 23 turnovers, as they fell to 1-7 without the big man. It was their second straight game that they blew a double-digit lead, as they fell to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday after leading by 16.