Michael Beasley opens up about what’s wrong with his game

Michael Beasley opens up about what’s wrong with his game

PORTLAND, Ore. — Michael Beasley is watching his words carefully nowadays, but he can’t help but drop cryptic hints about his suddenly painful slump. His decline could have him yanked from the starting lineup Tuesday when the Knicks face the Blazers at Moda Center.

“Not sure,’’ Beasley said Monday when asked about his scoring dip. “I don’t call the plays.”

When Kristaps Porzingis went down with a torn ACL, Beasley was installed as the Knicks’ starting power forward. He’s taken a step back the Knicks can ill afford for now or the future.

“Being a four, I got to wait for people to get me involved and things like that,’’ Beasley added. “So that’s tough. But I do it.’’

The Knicks want to bring him back, especially with Porzingis slated to miss the start of next season, but this late slide could create pause.

On Sunday night in Sacramento, Beasley silently left the visitor’s locker room in a purple Kansas State ballcap after his freeze continued in a seven-point, five-turnover outing.

Beasley had awakened echoes of his glorious K-State days for much of this season. That is, until recently when the bottom has dropped out on his game, leading to the Knicks losing 12 of their past 13 games.

A sullen Beasley wouldn’t talk after the Sacramento game but agreed to share some thoughts after practice at the University of Portland on Monday.

On Friday after the loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles, Beasley told The Post the Knicks aren’t sharing the ball like they used to, believing their assists totals have been too low.

Coach Jeff Hornacek finally acknowledged the decision to no longer play point guard Jarrett Jack has had an adverse effect on Beasley. Yet Hornacek said he is still considering making a change with the starting lineup against Portland’s small group as the Knicks’ hideous western swing continues. Lance Thomas could be a candidate to start.

The Knicks coach said he is waiting for Beasley to get back to that “you can’t stop me’’ scoring machine while not letting his offensive woes affect his defensive tenacity.

“I always feel like [nobody can stop me] but, you know …’’ Beasley said, stopping in mid-sentence.

The fourth quarter in Sacramento perhaps was a start as Beasley became part of the 24-5 run that allowed the Knicks to rally from a 19-point deficit to tie the score before losing on a last-second 3-pointer by Skal Labissiere.

In the past six games, including five since the All-Star break, Beasley is shooting 33.8 percent, committing two turnovers and averaging just 8.8 points per game.

“One thing we’re forgetting to do is have fun,’’ Beasley said. “I think the fourth quarter in Sacramento last night we started to have fun and everybody came alive. I think if we just play hard and have fun man, everything will take care of itself.”

On this road trip, Hornacek has repeatedly questioned whether some veterans are motivated enough to shine for a 48-minute game.

Beasley’s response?

“If you still need to get motivated to play basketball, you probably shouldn’t be playing,’’ Beasley said. “At the end of the day it’s a game. It’s a game you grew up loving. It’s a game you still love. If you got to get motivated to play, that’s a bad sign.”

Playing for a contract next season should be motivation enough for Beasley. For the season’s first four months, he more than erased some of the baggage he’s carried, that of a selfish player who doesn’t play enough defense.

“My play doesn’t really concern me,’’ Beasley said. “I don’t have to take any shots. As long as we win the game, I’m fine.’’

Beasley twisted his ankle in Los Angeles and said it still “hurts’’ and is wearing six stitches above his left eye from last Monday’s game against Golden State.

But the major factor seems to be the point-guard change. Beasley’s steep decline has coincided with Jack getting yanked in favor of Emmanuel Mudiay.

“Jarrett did a great job of getting us into half-court sets, which probably allows those guys to end up getting up there a little bit more,’’ Hornacek said. “Still, there are times when he’s trying to make the right play but we need him to be aggressive, attack the basket, get some fouls on guys.

“I think [it was] Boston when he just said you can’t stop me. We gotta do a better job of getting him in those positions a little bit more, but he’s just got to keep fighting and do it defensively and get a couple of offensive rebounds, tip-ins, couple of steals. Just try to get back into it.”

Asked to assess his season, Beasley said, “It’s not over yet.’’

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