NBA: Knicks guard Brunson pleased with ‘MVP’ chants inside Madison Square Garden

NBA: Knicks guard Brunson pleased with ‘MVP’ chants inside Madison Square Garden

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson said he was really pleased with the “MVP” chants he got from the home fans inside Madison Square Garden in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

The 27-year-old, who has been playing out of his mind this postseason, returned to the court after shaking off a right foot injury to lead the Knicks to a 130-121 win over the Pacers to go 2-0 up in the series.

“This place has been nothing but special for me,” Brunson said on the home fans cheering him on. “I appreciate everything they do.

“That is really cool to hear, but I just knew I had to get my mind in the right place to figure out how I was going to attack the second half.”

The All-Star guard, who missed the entire second quarter, scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half to rally New York to victory despite the Pacers surging to a double-figure lead early on.

Bruno’s performance earned him praise from Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau, who hailed the guard for his leadership and commitment to the team.

“He’s a great leader, so I think the players all have respect for that, when a guy goes out and is willing to give whatever he has, and so that says a lot about him,” Thibodeau said.

“The actions say a lot more than the words. So, it says that you really care about your team and your team-mates. And so, and we got a team full of guys like that.”

Donte DiVincenzo finished with 28 points and six rebounds, including shooting six 3s. OG Anunoby, who departed the game in the third quarter due to a left hamstring injury, added a playoff-high 28 points. Josh Hart played the full 48 minutes for the Knicks, finishing with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists, and Isaiah Hartenstein finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists.

For the visiting Pacers, Tyrese Haliburton woke up from his Game 1 slumber to finish with a game-high 34 points and seven threes, adding six rebounds and nine assists. Former Knicks player Obi Toppin added 20 points; Andrew Nembhard got 15 points; and Pascal Siakam ended with 14 points and nine rebounds.

New York is halfway to making their first Eastern Conference finals in 24 years, but the series will head to Indiana for the next two encounters, with Game 3 scheduled for Friday night.

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