Michael Beasley led the New York Knicks to an important win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night (December 21). Beasley made it look easy, scoring at will and carrying the Knicks to the 102-93 victory. It left many Celtics fans frustrated and making excuses on social media about why the team lost again. It’s also not a loss that Celtics coach Brad Stevens is going to let his players forget.

Beasley came off the bench for the Knicks, making 13-of-20 shots on his way to a game-high 32 points. He also had 12 rebounds in just 25 minutes of action. When Beasley was on the court Thursday night, the Knicks outscored the Celtics by 18 points, helping them cruise to the victory.

He looked good on defense, where a concerted effort by the Knicks held the Celtics to just 93 total points.

Where do the Knicks and Celtics stand?

This was the second-straight loss for the Boston Celtics, dropping them to 26-9 in the updated NBA standings. The team is now just one game ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers (24-9) and just one-and-a-half games ahead of the Toronto Raptors (22-8). The Celtics have cooled off quite a bit since their fast start, showing a number of weaknesses on both sides of the ball.

The New York Knicks are tied for the sixth seed in the East with the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons at 17-14. It appears, at least in the early part of the season, that the East has improved a bit. Could the conference be ready to send eight teams to the playoffs with records better than .500 this season? It certainly appears possible based on how the teams have been performing lately.

Eastern Conference more competitive?

Despite some early-season drama [VIDEO] from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the defending Eastern Conference champions have figured things out. That makes life more difficult for every team trying to dethrone LeBron James [VIDEO] and his teammates. The Toronto Raptors are also on a roll, winning nine of their last 10 games to race up the standings. Now the Cavs and Raptors could be primed to take that top spot away from the Boston Celtics.

Some important NBA games on the upcoming schedule include the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics on Christmas Day. The NBA schedule is set up for a full day of entertainment, beginning with the Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks and ending with a battle of young teams when the Minnesota Timberwolves face the Los Angeles Lakers. A lot of attention will also be paid to the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game on December 25.