Despite an offensive slump, head coach Jeff Hornacek decided to stick with Michael Beasley in the starting lineup because of his defense.
Beasley had just six points in a 3-for-9 shooting night, but Hornacek didn't lose hope on the veteran forward. After taking him out in the third quarter with 5:19 left, he put him back in during the Knicks' fourth-quarter run that saw them tie the game up.
"If you worry about scoring, you try to get it going defensively," Hornacek told The Post's Marc Berman. "I thought in the fourth quarter he was helping out. They had him for one block but he altered shots from behind. That's the kind of effort and it will translate to the offensive end."
Beasley has been in place for the injured Kristaps Porzingis, and after an offensive surge in the first half of the season, he has since cooled off with just seven points averaged over the past five games since the All-Star break.
Hornacek wants first-half Beasley back.
"We want to see Michael play as he did before the break, he was active, played with great confidence," Hornacek said. "He's got to put some points on the board for us and defensively help out as much as he can."
The 29-year-old publicly ripped his teammates for not passing the ball around recently, and PG Emmanuel Mudiay actually agreed with him.
"Last couple of games, we haven't," he said when asked about Beasley's comments. "I feel it's one pass, shot. The good thing is we talked about it [Saturday at practice]. Everyone owned up to what they're doing wrong. Everyone was trying to be honest with each other."
Beasley is still averaging 12.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 21.1 minutes per game this season.