NBA: Brunson leads Knicks rally against Pacers to take East semifinals Game 1

NBA: Brunson fires warning to conference rivals after Knicks series win over Sixers

Jalen Brunson’s postseason form is not looking like it will falter anytime soon, as the 27-year-old guard poured in 43 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 121-117 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday night.

By doing so at Madison Square Garden, Brunson became the fourth player in NBA history with four straight 40-point games in the postseason, joining Hall of Famer Jerry West, who did it for six straight postseason games, as well as Michael Jordan and Bernard King, who both had four of such games.

The former Dallas Mavericks guard had 21 points in the fourth quarter to help New York rally to the win after being down by nine points early in the quarter. He also finished with six points and six rebounds and shot 14 of 26 from the field.

He has also recorded 30+points and 5+ assists in five consecutive playoff games, and becomes the fifth player in NBA history to accomplish this, joining Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.

“The little things can go a long way,” Brunson, who made a late defensive stop for the Knicks, said. “So yeah, the 40 points are cool and all, but it’s the little things that help us win games like that. So, I’m just happy to have the group of guys that I do.”

Donte DiVincenzo got two blocks and hit five 3-pointers to fuel the Knicks with 25 points; Josh Hart also came up big for the second-seed New York, adding a playoff career-high 24 points along with 13 rebounds and eight assists in 48 minutes of action.

OG Anunoby poured in 13 points, nine rebounds, and four assists, while Isaiah Hartenstein got 13 points and six rebounds for the Knicks, who outrebounded the Pacers 40-32 to finish with more second-chance points (16-10) and fast break points (20-18).

“I just think the way they work; they’ve invested a lot into this season and they put a lot into each and every day,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So, when you make that commitment to each other, you’re not going to give in, you’re going to keep fighting. And that’s the great fight. We know we’re short-handed. So, that’s our way.”

Sixth seed Indiana picked up from where they left off in their first-round win over the Milwaukee Bucks, but they were unfortunate to come up short against a Brunson-inspired Knicks side.

Myles Turner scored a team-high 23 points and was 8 of 16 from the field; Pascal Siakam had 19 points, six rebounds, and five assists; Aaron Nesmith added 12 points and six rebounds; Andrew Nembhard got eleven points; and Tyrese Haliburton was kept really quiet in the game as he finished with six points and eight assists as he was only allowed to attempt six shots.

The Pacers got a lot of input off the bench, with T.J. McConnell adding 18 points, Obi Toppin getting 12 points, and Isaiah Jackson and Ben Sheppard finishing with eight points each.

“Playing in an arena like this, having it come down to the last couple of possessions on the road in the playoffs, what more can you ask for?” Pacers guard McConnell said. “The ball didn’t bounce our way. We just got to adjust and fix some things.”

Game 2 of the series will remain in Madison Square Garden, and New York will hope to take a 2-0 advantage over Indiana, while the Pacers will hope to build on a good offensive showing from Game 1 in the hopes of bringing the series level.

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