Jalen Brunson leads Knicks to Game 4 victory to take commanding 3-1 series lead

knicks, jalen brunson
Mar 1, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) brings the ball up court against the Brooklyn Nets during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks dominated at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, taking Game 4 by a score of 102-93 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

New York was led again by their top free agent signee Jalen Brunson, who scored 29 points on 50% shooting along with five made threes and logged six rebounds and six assists.

Brunson is now averaging 24.3 points per game on 45% shooting in this first-round playoff series, his first of which with the Knicks.

This series was expected to be a highly intense battle between Brunson and the Cavs’ star acquisition Donovan Mitchell. Brunson has stepped up to the challenge and has outplayed the superstar.

Mitchell easily had his worst performance of the playoffs on Sunday, scoring just 11 points on 5-18 shooting despite playing 41 minutes. Mitchell is averaging 22 points and shooting just 30% from three this series.

The Knicks’ tenacious defense came alive for Games 3 and 4 and have now held Cleveland to under 100 points in all three of their victories this series.

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Key contributors stepped up for the Knicks in Game 4:

The Knicks got some key contributions from the guys they needed the most, especially with Julius Randle’s quiet Game 4 that saw him benched for the entire fourth quarter. Randle had just seven points and shot 3-10 from the floor in 27 minutes of action.

RJ Barrett, on the other hand, has loudly reintroduced himself. After a rough first two games in the series, Barrett followed up a great Game 3 with a 26-point outing in Game 4. His willingness to attack the basket was in full force as he uplifted the Knicks’ offense.

“I just wanted to continue to make the right plays, make the right reads,” Barrett said after the game. “Just do whatever to help the team I feel we’re playing extremely hard, making hustle plays. The whole team, all the hustle plays we’re making, we’re really together collectively.”

RJ Barrett via NY Post

Josh Hart was inserted into the starting lineup to replace an injured Quentin Grimes, and he continued to hurt the Cavs as the Knicks’ Swiss Army knife. Hart finished Game 4 with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals while shooting 7-16 from the floor.

Mitchell Robinson was dominant on the interior and recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds while also collecting two blocks.

With the Knicks’ full team effort on display at the Garden, they now head back to Cleveland with a chance to eliminate the Cavs on their home floor Wednesday night. New York is just one win away from their first playoff series victory since 2013.

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