NBA: Beasley bags 30 as Knicks spoil Anthony's Garden party; James nails 60th career triple-double

New York Knicks forward Michael Beasley blocks a shot attempt by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony during an NBA game at Madison Square Garden in New York on Dec 16, 2017.
New York Knicks forward Michael Beasley blocks a shot attempt by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony during an NBA game at Madison Square Garden in New York on Dec 16, 2017.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (AFP) - Michael Beasley had the hot hand as the New York Knicks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-96 in the NBA league on Saturday (Dec 2), 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 for 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", he 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 his 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 their first division title in 19 years in the 2012-2013 season and averaged nearly 25 points per game in his six-plus-year stint.

But he has scored more than 25 points just once in his last 26 games with the Thunder (14-15).

"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 match-up and not just because of Anthony's involvement. This was a battle between two hot National Basketball Association (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 31-23 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.

In Cleveland, LeBron James posted his 60th NBA triple-double, passing Larry Bird for sixth on the all-time list and leading the Cavaliers to a 109-100 victory over the Utah Jazz.

James scored 29 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and handed out 10 assists. It was his third triple-double - putting up double digits in three statistical categories - in the four-game homestand that concluded on Saturday.

Kevin Love had 15 points and five rebounds, and rookie Cedi Osman scored a career-high 10 points for Cleveland (22-8), who are 17-1 since Nov 11 and notched an 11th straight home win.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue earned his 100th regular-season victory since being promoted to the job on Jan 22, 2016.

The Jazz (14-16) were without French centre Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, who were both hurt in a win over Boston on Friday. Gobert is expected to miss up to a month with a sprained left knee, while Favors suffered an eye laceration.

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 (15-14) fended off a tremendous effort from DeAndre Jordan at the AmericanAirlines Arena. The star of a watered-down Clippers (11-17) 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.