NBA Playoffs: Jalen Brunson, after early injury scare, leads Knicks to victory over Pacers in Game 2

The Indiana Pacers appear to be on the verge of tying the series on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Then Jalen Brunson came back.

Brunson, after suffering an early injury scare, returned to the game and led the Knicks to a 130-121 victory over the Pacers in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. This gives the Knicks a 2-0 lead in the series when they return to Indianapolis.

“I’m happy just who I am [returned]“To be honest with you,” Bronson said afterward on TNT. “We found a way. That’s all.”

The Pacers led by 17 points in the first half after the Knicks lost Brunson in the opening minutes, which almost led to a perfect opportunity to steal the game away from home.

It looked as if Brunson tweaked his right foot while defending late in the first quarter. He made an awkward move as he moved into the lane, then immediately called for a substitution after the Pacers scored.

Brunson left the game after just eight minutes, returning to the locker room. His father, Knicks assistant coach Rick Brunson, left the bench in the second quarter to return to the locker room as well, though the team did not provide an update for some time. Finally, midway through the second quarter, the Knicks said Brunson was experiencing pain in his right foot. It was initially doubtful that he would return, but he returned to start the second half to a standing ovation in Manhattan.

The Knicks led by seven points when Brunson left the court, although they entered halftime trailing by 10 points, representing a massive 17-point swing for the Pacers. Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton scored 22 points in the first half while shooting 7 of 12 from the field, doubling his shot attempts from the first game.

See also  Law's Futures Game Takeaway: The pitching was dominating but MLB is ruining the action

Brunson’s return seems to have made a big difference for the Knicks. They took the lead almost immediately in the second half and came out of the gate on a 21-6 tear. The Knicks raised Indiana’s score to only 18 points in the third quarter, 10 of which came in the last four minutes, and led by eight points in the final period, which completely turned the game around after the end of the first half.

The Knicks lost OG Anunoby to a leg injury in the third quarter, after he made an awkward stop while driving to the rim. He was quickly ruled out with a left hamstring injury, and finished with 28 points and shot 10 of 19 from the field. It’s unclear how serious his injury is, or whether he will be available for Game 3 on Friday night.

Although the Pacers opened the fourth quarter with a quick 6-0 run, Brunson responded with a massive layup and one-and-one to keep them ahead on multiple possessions.

The Knicks then used a 7-0 run, stepping back on a 3-pointer from Donte DiVincenzo and then a perfect offload from it to Precious Achiuwa to put the Pacers away at the end of the period. This allowed them to win by nine points, giving them a two-game lead in the series.

Haliburton led the Pacers with 34 points, nine assists and six rebounds while shooting 7 of 11 from beyond the arc. Andrew Nembhard added 15 points and Pascal Siakam added 14 points and eight rebounds. Pacers coach Rick Carlisle was ejected in the final minute as well, after an argument with officials over a double dribble call that felt like simmering frustration.

See also  Pelicans star Zion Williamson will be out for several weeks with a hamstring injury

Brunson finished with 29 points, all but five of which came in the second half, and five assists while shooting 11 of 18 from the field. DiVincenzo added 28 points, and Josh Hart added 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

Game 3 of the series is set for Friday night in Indianapolis. While there are a lot of questions surrounding the Knicks’ health, whether with Brunson or Anunoby, the Knicks are in an incredible position to reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2000.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *