Jalen Brunson Leads Knicks to Another Win. NY 134 Charlotte 131 in OT

Last year the Knicks do not win this game. But this year, the Knicks have Jalen Brunson — an elite point guard who makes the big plays down the stretch to will the team to a win.

In this one, Dennis Smith Jr was having a redemption game — ripping the Knicks apart at the same Madison Square Garden that had booed him off the court in general but especially in that horrible game when David Fizdale was the coach 3 years ago.

The Knicks led by single digits throughout, but Smith was everywhere on offense down the stretch — en route to 14 points and 11 assists. He hit a floater with 2:22 left in regulation to put Charlotte on top by 5 points.

But Brunson willed the Knicks back — hitting a huge 3 to tie the game 120-120, and taking over in OT. And when Brunson wasn’t making the big shot, Julius Randle was. And RJ Barrett too — hitting HUGE free throws down the stretch in regulation and in OT.

“That’s who he is,” said coach Tom Thibodeau about Brunson. “Whatever the game needs, that’s what he does. They were blitzing him; he made a number of good plays; good reads. He scored when we needed big buckets.”

A good Knick win to go 3-1 on the season. Charlotte drops to 2-2.


1. Brunson Takes Over

Brunson finished with 27 points on 10-15 shooting (2-5 from 3; 5-5 in free throws) with 13 assists.

His huge 3 that tied the game 120-120 late in regulation was the turning point of the game.

Dennis Smith Jr immediately put Charlotte back on top in Overtime with a jumper, but there was Brunson again — hitting a 3, and then hitting a free throw on a tech and NY was up by 2.

Brunson then penetrated and fed Mitchell Robinson inside for a dunk that surprised even the viewers on tv who were glued to Brunson’s moves. NY was up by 4.

After Charlotte pulled to within 1, there was Brunson again — driving into the lane to make a HUGE 10-footer and put NY up by 3 with 59 seconds left. Ice in his veins.

This play earlier in the game represents the wizardry of Brunson on the court:

2. Randle an Ace

And when Brunson wasn’t making the big shot, Julius Randle — the Knicks other All Star — was. After Brunson tied the game in regulation at 120 — Randle grabbed a huge rebound off a Brunson miss, and scored inside for a 122-120 Knick lead.

In OT, with NY up 130-129 and 20+ seconds left — Randle powered to the basket for 2 to put NY up 132-129 with 19 seconds left. A HUGE play on a HUGE possession for NY.

3. Barrett Clutch and Efficient

Still Charlotte would not go away — Dennis Smith Jr was hitting up teammates Kelly Oubre Jr and PJ Washington for scores. Washington hit a 3 off a Smith feed with 5 seconds left to tie the game at 131 — apparently — until it was ruled a 2 — the front of Washington’s left sneaker clearly touching the line. Charlotte fouled off an inbounds and sent RJ Barrett to the line for the ballgame — down 131-130.

And RJ Barrett — who practiced free throws all summer because he said he “left too many on the table” last year — was perfect from the line — 2 for 2 for a 134-131 Knick lead.

Charlotte still had a chance with 3.8 seconds left, but the Knicks fouled Dennis Smith Jr on purpose, sending him to the line. He missed the first free throw — then had to miss the second free throw on purpose hoping for a Charlotte rebound and 3 — but RJ Barrett grabbed the rebound for the old ballgame.

Barrett had 22 points on 9-21 shooting (0-5 from 3 but 4-4 in free throws), 8 rebounds and a +8.

4. Mitch 6 Blocks

Mitchell Robinson played excellent defense all night with 6 blocks, 8 rebounds, and 9 points on 4-4 shooting in 37 minutes. He no longer gets in foul trouble.

5. Second Team Played Well

The second team played well — Obi Toppin had 9 points on 3-6 shooting (3-4 from 3) in 13 minutes — at one point in the 3rd quarter he hit 3 after 3.

Immanuel Quickley 11 points on 3-6 shooting (2-3 from 3) in 19 minutes; Derrick Rose 12 points on 5-7 shooting in 12 minutes; Isaiah Hartenstein 8 points on 4-5 shooting in 16 minutes.

Evan Fournier had 14 points on 6-11 shooting but fouled out — due to too many fouls using his hands; people are beating him off the dribble and he is fouling while trailing them.

Cam Reddish replaced Fournier at the end of regulation after Fournier fouled out. Reddish played 25 minutes overall and had 5 points.

Despite their offensive efficiency, the second team all had slightly negative plus/minus scores from -3 to -7, while the starters all had positive plus/minus.

6. Smith Jr Redemption

Knick fans got the best of both worlds — a Knick win and to see Dennis Smith Jr do well. Smith is now the starting point guard for Charlotte. Smith took over for Charlotte down the stretch and in OT. Smith hit a drive down the lane to tie the game and send it into OT, and then hit the 1st shot of OT before Brunson took over.

Gordon Hayward had 21 points

The Boxscore



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