The New York Knicks are firmly entrenched at the fifth seed with a chance to move up to fourth following a 9-2 run in February, their best record for the month since the 1989-90 season.
Leading the way was their rising star point guard Jalen Brunson, who was one of the biggest All-Star snubs this season. The 26-year-old Brunson averaged 27.3 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from deep.
For his Herculean effort, Brunson was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month as he became the first Knicks player to win the award since Julius Randle in April 2021.
Brunson is largely credited for stabilizing the Knicks after a rocky start to the season. His $104 million, four-year deal that was deemed an overpay when he signed it is now considered the best offseason coup.
Brunson is fresh off a 39-point game, including a career-high 30 points in the first half, on a ridiculous 15 of 18 shooting night. He added six assists in another virtuoso performance to lead the Knicks to a 142-118 rout of their crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night.
New York coach Tom Thibodeau is running out of superlatives to describe Brunson’s impact on this streaking Knicks team.
“I love that [Brunson] is unselfish. He’s playing for the team. He’s prioritizing winning,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And that goes a long way when your best players are willing to do that. They make your team cohesive.”
Thibodeau said Brunson set the tone in the offseason, showing up at the Knicks practice facility ahead of the training camp to get better and get to know his teammates.
The Knicks are the second-hottest team in the league right now, with seven straight wins dating back to last month, and will look to continue their winning ways against conference rival Miami Heat on Friday.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo