Jalen “Motherf*cker” Brunson Rips Bulls for 45 Pts, 8 Assists. NY 128 Chicago 117

Jalen Brunson has a new knickname — given to him by Chicago’s Coby White after last night’s game.

“Brunson’s a motherfucker,” said White after trying to guard him most of the night as Brunson poured in 45 points and had 8 assists, scoring in every way imaginable — another Stephen Curry-like performance.

White (24 pts) did well himself as did DeMar DeRozan (34 pts), Nikola Vucevic (26 pts), and the rest of the Billy Donovan-coached Bulls, who are a tough team that plays good D.

But the Knicks were better — taking the lead from the start and never relinquishing it — maintaining a near 10-pt lead throughout the 2nd half — one time as high as 17 pts — although the Bulls pulled to within 4 at the start of the 4th.

NY dominated down the stretch — with OG Anunoby (24 pts), Josh Hart (17 pts, 13 rebounds, 7 assists), Isaiah Hartenstein (11 pts), Donte DiVincenzo (21 pts), Miles McBride, Mitchell Robinson, and Bojan Bogdanovic playing stellar team ball on Defense and Offense.

And Brunson, Brunson, and more Brunson leading the charge.

NY improves to 47-32, and are now in 3rd place by themselves in the East after an Orlando loss. NY is 1 game behind Milwaukee with 3 games to play (although Milwaukee owns the tie breaker). Chicago falls to 37-42, in their hunt for the play-in home court.

“We want to win every game,” said OG Anunoby afterwards when asked what he thought about the last 3 games. “We play every game to win. We really don’t worry about everyone else. We just want to win each and every game.”

When asked about his post-surgery elbow, Anunoby said “It’s getting better and better every game. I don’t even think about it any more; try not to.”

1. Knicks Pull Out to 10-Pt Lead in 1st

The Knicks and Bulls just locked up in a game 5 days earlier in NY, where Chicago jumped out to a 12-point lead in the 1st quarter and led by 19 at start of the 2nd before the Knicks came back — but stalled in the 4th. This game was a near mirror opposite.

NY came out and took a 10-point lead in the 1st quarter.

OG Anunoby started the scoring for NY with a drive and a dunk, and soon Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart joined him. By the end of the period Jalen Brunson was knocking down 3’s (one with 4 minutes left and then back-to-back 3’s in the last minute) as NY took a 36-27 lead into the 2nd.

2. Both Teams Shoot Lights Out

Both teams were shooting lights out. Chicago would end up shooting 53 % for the game (and 35.7 % from 3 on 10-28 shooting). NY shot 55 % (47 % from 3 on 17-36 shooting).

DeMar DeRozan was killing NY all night with his mid-range jumpers, and Coby White is much improved — not only hitting 3’s but driving to the bucket for score after score. Vucevic was on his game as well.

3. The Story of the Boards & Drummond’s Injury

The Knicks were badly outrebounded the prior game of 5 days ago — something that Thibs said was a key to the loss. In this game NY did better on the boards — but were still outrebounded 39-31.

NY misses Julius Randle here. They still have Mitchell Robinson, Isaiah Hartenstein, Josh Hart, OG and team — but Detroit has Andre Drummond who is still a beast — even bigger than Robinson — and Javonte Green, their 6’5 shooting guard who pulled down 12 boards.

But Drummond went out on the misplay of the game at the start of the 2nd quarter.

Backup shooting guard Torey Craig was ahead of the field for a slam off a steal — and threw it off the backboard looking to highlight-reel slam — but he didn’t realize Drummond was following right behind him — and Drummond thought the alley-oop pass off the backboard was intended for him. Both went up to slam it, colliding — the ball bounding away for a Knick fast break the other direction. Drummond went down and out of the game.

“I just wanted to create some excitement,” said Craig afterwards. “Try to give us the edge. Create some momentum for us. Obviously, I didn’t know Drummond was going to jump out there with me. It was a miscommunication.”

4. DiVo Hits Midcourt Shot Just Before Half

The Knicks had their own boneheaded play at the end of the half, after Vucevic hit a 3 with 6 seconds left to pull Chicago within 6 at 65-59.

Jalen Brunson made his only turnover of the game — tossing it in to DiVincenzo but the pass intercepted by Coby White who stopped and hit a 3 with 2 seconds left.

Brunson then fed DiVincenzo again and this time DiVo caught the pass and raced to a few steps to midcourt heaving up a shot as the clock expired — and banking it home! Saved Brunson and the Knicks from disgrace heading into the half.

5. Knicks Up 17 in the 3rd

The Knicks came out of the break taking it to Chicago. Brunson kept scoring every which way, or feeding Hartenstein inside for teardrop jumpers.

At one point Gus Johnson on the play-by-play (with Walt Frazier) said the Hartenstein was playing so well he was playing himself off the Knicks as they wouldn’t be able to re-sign him in the off season as he’d be making big bucks. It was an unsettling comment. To this point we haven’t heard NY would not be able to re-sign. IHeart is big part of this team.

Meanwhile, Anunoby (who the Knicks will also have to re-sign) was hitting 3’s and drives, and the Knicks got out to an 81-64 lead with 9 minutes left in the quarter.

6. DeRozan, White, & Vucevic Keep Chicago In It

But Chicago came back. DeRozan was a pain in the ass, Coby White too, and Nikola Vucevic kept killing the Knicks on drives. Chicago pulled back to within 6 at the end of the quarter.

Nikola Jovic making the right plays, playing hard, reacting rather than over thinking and also doing the little things,” noted NBA Analyst Ross Kreines. “Nikola shooting the ball with confidence, creating, getting to the rim, moving without the ball, rebounding, using his size and defending. Also, staying engaged.”

7. McBride Big Buckets

DeRozan hit ANOTHER mid-range jumper to start the 4th and NY was only up 4 — things were looking a little scary for NY.

But Miles McBride stepped up against a TIGHT Chicago defense — hitting consecutive TOUGH drives to put NY back up by 8.

8. Brunson a Motherfucker Down the Stretch

Coby White answered but Josh Hart and OG joined the fray — hitting key shots — and then Brunson just took over — guarded physically by Alex Caruso, Brunson danced around Caruso with his footwork floaters and drives and then started popping 3’s.

It was a master class by the best player on the court.

Jalen “Motherfucker” Brunson.

The Boxscore



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