It didn’t matter that Jalen Brunson played in all 48 minutes of Game 5’s win for the New York Knicks. Less than 48 hours after doing so, he took the court for Game 6 and looked like he had more than one full day of rest under his belt.
He matched his career-high of 41 points, shooting 14-of-22 from the field and 5-of-10 from the floor. New York’s other four starters combined for a poor 31 points. Julius Randle was the team’s second-highest scorer with 14 points (3-of-14) and RJ Barrett had 11 (1-of-10). It’s hard to win any game, especially a playoff game when one player is doing everything offensively.
With that being said, Brunson had a critical turnover with 16 seconds left to play in the game when the Knicks were down two, 92-90. New York was in that position because Gabe Vincent was assessed a flagrant one with less than a minute to play when the Knicks were down by six. Brunson knocked down both free throws and since New York also got the ball back, Josh Hart scored to cut Miami’s lead to two.
The turnover is likely going to haunt Brunson for the entirety of the offseason because that’s how he is, but it shouldn’t take away from everything else that he accomplished for the Knicks in the playoffs and regular season.
Jalen Brunson turns ball over late in Game 6 with Knicks’ season on the line
The reality is that New York wouldn’t have made it to Game 6 in the first place if it weren’t for Jalen Brunson’s 38 points in Game 5. After a stellar 2022 postseason for Dallas, the point guard topped it by averaging 27.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.9 assists in the 2023 playoffs.
Entering Game 2 of the semifinals, Brunson was listed as questionable with right ankle soreness. According to SNY’s Ian Begley, there were a few Heat players who were certain that Brunson wouldn’t be able to go for Game 2, but sure enough, he was in the starting lineup and dropped 30 points for a Knicks win.
Begley also added that Brunson was receiving treatment around the clock for his ankle, so while it should be surprising that he was still able to play at a high level, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. That’s the kind of player that Brunson is.
New York fans couldn’t have asked for a better first season from the point guard. From his contract being labeled as an overpay in free agency to him helping guide the Knicks to their first Eastern Conference Semifinals appearance in 10 years, New York struck gold with Jalen Brunson.