Jalen Brunson struggles again as Knicks lose a heartbreaker against Chicago

jalen brunson, knicks
Dec 23, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) reacts during the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson has now entered himself into a slump, as he had yet another rough game as New York loses their second game in a row, this one a heartbreaker against the Chicago Bulls 118-117.

Brunson had just 12 points and shot 5/15 from the field and 1/4 from the free throw line in the loss, another inefficient game after scoring just seven points on 3/14 shooting in the Knicks’ previous loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Knicks’ Jalen Brunson appears to be laboring of late:

Out of pure speculation, Brunson has not appeared to look the same on the court during the Knicks’ last two games. In Friday’s game against the Bulls, for example, Brunson really struggled to reach his sweet spot on the court, which is the restricted area of the paint, and in fact, he did not make any shot attempts from closer than 12 feet out, and attempted just six of such shots, according to the NBA’s shot tracking data.

Brunson has also not had the same burst of speed on drives to the basket. As a result, opposing defenders are closing off those lanes for Brunson to attack, and he’s creating less separation on his trademark short fadeaway jumpers.

Brunson’s main focus of his struggles on Friday was when he missed two huge free throws in the final seconds to set the Bulls up for DeMar DeRozan’s game-winning mid-range shot.

Brunson was not the only Knick to struggle from the charity stripe on Friday, as New York shot an appalling 15-26 from the free throw line in the loss, including 9-15 in the fourth quarter and 0-4 in the final 66 seconds, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Brunson was asked postgame on Friday how frustrating is it to miss key free throws in a tight game.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating. I practice it all the time, I’m confident when I get to the line. Just missed it.

Jalen Brunson via MSG Network

Looking ahead, the Knicks have a Christmas Day matchup against the red-hot Philadelphia 76ers, who have won seven consecutive games. Brunson will look to bounce back and be well-rested and ready to go as New York looks to right the ship and get back in the win column.

Follow this writer on Twitter @DylanBacker_ for more Knicks coverage.