3 Major Takeaways From Knicks' Stunning Game 2 Win over 76ers

The Knicks snagged victory out of the jaws of defeat to command two game series lead over the 76ers. What were the key stories from the Game 2 thriller?
Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) celebrates
Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) celebrates / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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Brunson’s Odd Struggles Through Two

Among all the positives in the New York Knicks’ first two victories of the postseason, there has been a lingering disappointment and that has been the play of star point guard Jalen Brunson. 

While he might not get recognized for it as a finalist, Brunson is coming off an MVP-caliber season in which he led the team with 28.6 points per game on 47.9% shooting from the field and a career-high 40.1% from the three-point line. From his bounty of 30+ point outings to the 61-point throttling in San Antonio, the guard has been captivating the league with his underdog story that has gotten the Knicks as far as they’ve come. 

However, he hasn’t been the one that’s carried them through the first few miraculous wins at Madison Square Garden. Instead, Brunson has been oblivious as he has struggled to make many of the good looks he made a staple in the regular season. He has gone 16/55 from the field in Games 1 and 2, a surefire sign that something is up with his game. 

In the series opener, the key was the 76ers double-team emphasis on Brunson, a strategy that isn’t foreign to the superstar that’s been chased every night this year. Brunson is one of those players that can bring the best out of his teammates even more than himself, and that’s where the Knicks overcame that hurdle in Game 1.

Yet, this time around, Brunson’s shot was just consistently coming up short. His midrange floaters or step back jumpers couldn’t find their way past the front of the rim and the three balls were either short or overshot to where the Knicks had a rare blown possession. 

Despite his woes, Brunson wasn’t afraid to step back into the spotlight at the biggest moment and knock down his lone deep basket in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter to bring the Knicks to within striking distance. He mentioned how his confidence and that of the team never waivered up to that moment and only jumped after he made the shot that felt like it was tapped in by the spirits of the Garden past. 

“The one thing about this team, no one really cares about who's doing what, who gets the credit for what or anything,” Brunson said. “We just want to go out there and win."

Win that did, but if New York wants to keep the party going on the south side of I-95, Brunson is going to have to rebound from his peculiar offensive slump and return to his nightly dominance that has put the entire league on notice.  

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