Knicks’ Jalen Brunson building All-Star case after dominant stretch

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks
Jan 9, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) reacts after a three point basket during the third quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson is building a stronger All-Star case with each passing game, and he is currently playing his best basketball this month.

In Friday’s 112-108 victory over the Washington Wizards, Brunson tallied 34 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, all while shooting 12-24 from the field and 3-6 from beyond the arc.

It was Brunson’s fourth 30-plus point performance in his last five games, and the Knicks are 4-1 in that span. New York has also won six of their last seven games.

In the month of January, Brunson is putting up fantastic numbers in six games so far this month:

  • 33.6 Points
  • 6.0 Assists
  • 5.7 Rebounds
  • 52.2 FG%
  • 50 3PT%
  • +7.2

His star-studded start to the new calendar year has helped the Knicks secure sole possession of the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings. They are currently five games over .500 this season (tied for season-high) and are 24-19, their best record through their first 43 games in a single season since the 2012-13 season.

The Knicks have also won nine of their last eleven road games and are now 13-8 on the road this season, which is third-best in the NBA.

Jalen Brunson has become the Knicks’ closer:

Brunson has now become the Knicks’ go-to guy when they need a bucket late in closely contested games.

Brunson’s 96 clutch points rank third in the NBA, and he is shooting 55.2% from the field and 55.6% from deep in the clutch as well. He has become a dominant and extremely reliable option to go to in tight games down the stretch.

Knicks’ shooting guard Quentin Grimes spoke highly about Brunson’s impact in clutch situations and how much he has contributed to the team’s success this season.

“He’s our finisher, our closer, a big-time shot-maker. You saw it in the playoffs all of last year [with the Mavericks]. Just him coming to the team really gives us a boost that we really need from a leadership standpoint, a shot-making standpoint. So he kind of brings it all. Especially late in the game, we can rely on him to go get a bucket for us.”

Quentin Grimes on Jalen Brunson via New York Post

Others around the league are also starting to take notice of Brunson’s recent play.

Brunson’s chances of making his first career All-Star appearance have rose tremendously over the past few weeks. An appearance would be nothing short of deserved for him, as he has put the team on his back and turned the Knicks into a true threat in the East.

Brunson and the Knicks will look to continue their strong play when they take on the lowly Detroit Pistons on the road in a Sunday afternoon matchup.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_