The New York Knicks capped off a thrilling 109-106 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday to extend their winning streak to seven games, led by none other than point guard Jalen Brunson, which has been the case for practically the entire season thus far.
There is something about Brunson’s presence that gives Knicks fans this new confidence that wasn’t around last season, and justifiably so.
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The Knicks are seeing the best of Jalen Brunson:
In Sunday’s victory over Indiana, Brunson had 30 points on 11-22 shooting, including 19 of those points in the second half. He knocked down some clutch buckets down the final stretch of the fourth, and facilitated instant offense to help the Knicks claw back from a deficit and pull off the win.
Efforts like these have been commonplace this season, and are exactly what team leaders do.
Last season, Alec Burks was the team’s closing point guard. He is not even a primary point guard. Now, they have Brunson, who is a legitimate All-Star caliber point guard who can take over games from start to finish, and that is showing mercifully this season.
The box scores will tell you that Brunson has not even been the best Knicks player during this triumphant seven-game winning streak, as Julius Randle is outscoring him by nearly six whole points and has actually been more efficient from the field during the stretch (Randle is shooting 42.7% while Brunson is shooting 42.1%).
But that’s the beauty of Brunson’s play. He doesn’t have to put up 40-point triple-doubles to demonstrate his leadership. He flows with the offense like no other, and the Knicks’ 113.4 offensive rating – an improvement of three points from last season – shows how much better the offense is with Brunson at the helm.
Brunson seems to always play with a chip on his shoulder, looking to prove those who criticized his four-year $104 million contract that he deserves every penny. He never gives up on possessions, plays physical and hard-headed, and even when he’s beaten and battered, he still gives 110% effort. That’s a leader.
“If I can walk, I can play.”Jalen Brunson via MSG Network after Sunday’s win at Indiana
On the season, Brunson is averaging 20.8 PPG and 6.2 APG, both career highs. His 46.9 FG% ranks third among all Eastern Conference guards. He is having an All-Star level season, and an All-Star appearance would be more than deserving for the guy leading the Knicks to superb play.
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