Connect with us


Jalen Brunson’s Explosive Comeback Ignites Knicks to a 2-0 Lead



Jalen Brunson epic back to game after injury.

Jalen Brunson came back strong after hurting his right foot in the first quarter. He scored an impressive 29 points, with 24 of them coming in the second half. This helped the New York Knicks secure a 130-121 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, giving them a 2-0 lead in the series.

Even from the locker room, Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein could hear the cheers for Brunson’s return. Despite the injury, Brunson didn’t give up. He returned to the Madison Square Garden court during halftime, determined to play through the pain and help his team.

Brunson’s resilience and stellar performance lifted the spirits of both his teammates and fans. It was a memorable night at the Garden as the Knicks took another step forward in their playoff journey.

As Jalen Brunson emerged from the tunnel, the roar of the crowd was deafening. It was a thunderous noise that reverberated throughout the arena. Even from their lockers, Isaiah Hartenstein and the rest of the Knicks could feel the energy pulsating through the building.


From the depths of the locker room, the chants of “MVP” reached the ears of the Knicks players, acting almost like a beacon signaling Jalen Brunson’s return. It was a rallying cry, a declaration that their leader was back and ready to guide them through the battle ahead. And true to the chants, Brunson’s comeback infused the short-handed Knicks with a surge of energy in the second half.

Despite facing multiple injuries and setbacks, the Knicks refused to falter. With Brunson leading the charge, they mounted an impressive comeback against the Pacers. His presence on the court inspired confidence and determination in his teammates, as they fought tooth and nail for every point.

Jalen Brunson throwing a ball to basket.
Jalen Brunson throwing a ball to basket.

The game was a testament to the resilience and grit of the Knicks. Despite the odds stacked against them, they refused to back down. With Brunson at the helm, they pushed through the pain and adversity to emerge victorious with a hard-fought 130-121 win over the Pacers. And with this triumph, they claimed a commanding 2-0 series lead in the conference semifinals, propelled by the unwavering leadership of their returning star.

“He’s a great leader, and the players all have respect for that when a guy tries to give whatever he has. It says a lot about him,” remarked Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau. “To me, the actions say a lot more than the words. It says that you care a lot about your team and your teammates.”

The victory for New York, however, came with a price tag as the series heads to Indianapolis for Games 3 and 4. Star defender OG Anunoby, who had a standout performance with a playoff career-high 28 points in just 28 minutes of play, suffered a blow in the third period.


He limped off to the locker room with an injured left hamstring and didn’t return to the court. Thibodeau expressed his concern, mentioning that he had yet to consult with the team’s medical staff to gauge the severity of Anunoby’s injury.

The Knicks faced challenges with their players’ health, giving the Pacers an opportunity to capitalize. Initially, Indiana took advantage of New York’s struggles to score without Jalen Brunson.

With Tyrese Haliburton bouncing back from a slow Game 1 and T.J. McConnell orchestrating the offense effectively, the Pacers dominated the latter part of the first half. They went on an impressive 56-39 run, silencing the crowd and taking a commanding 73-63 lead at halftime. While Brunson remained in the locker room.

However, a moment reminiscent of Knicks history unfolded. Exactly 54 years after Willis Reed’s iconic entrance during Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals, Brunson decided to test his injured foot. As he stepped onto the court. The roar of the crowd echoed all the way to the Knicks’ locker room, reminiscent of Reed’s electrifying moment.


Reflecting on the overwhelming support, Brunson described the MVP chants from the fans as “really cool.”

However, he quickly shifted his focus to the task at hand, acknowledging the need. Which is to mentally prepare himself for the challenges of the second half. With determination in his heart and the support of the fans behind him. Brunson geared up to lead his team’s comeback effort.

“He’s a warrior,” declared Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo, who had an impressive 28-point performance. “There was no doubt in my mind he’d be back.”

Brunson’s return to the court, despite the Pacers’ attempts to trap him, swiftly shifted the momentum of the game. In the opening five and a half minutes of the second half, the Knicks orchestrated a remarkable 15-point swing, propelling them to a five-point lead.


Similar to Game 1, the matchup remained fiercely contested, not without its share of controversy. With the Knicks holding a 124-118 lead, the Pacers applied pressure on Hartenstein in the backcourt with just over a minute left on the clock. Initially, an official signaled a double dribble violation against Hartenstein, indicating possession for the Pacers. However, moments later, the referees convened and reversed the call, ruling it was an inadvertent whistle, thereby returning possession to the Knicks.

Shortly thereafter, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle received two technical fouls and was ejected from the game. Which adding further drama to an already intense contest.

The decision to overturn the initial double dribble call in Game 2 followed a situation in Game 1. Where the Pacers were disadvantaged by an incorrect kicked ball violation call. In the final minute of Game 1, with the score tied at 115. Indiana’s Aaron Nesmith tipped a pass with his hand. But a referee stopped play with a whistle before it could potentially lead to a Pacers fast break.

When Pacers coach Rick Carlisle and the team raised objections during Game 1, they were informed that the play. Which is classified as a violation rather than a foul or an out-of-bounds call, couldn’t be reviewed.


Despite these past frustrations, the Pacers had their opportunities throughout Game 2. Tyrese Haliburton, with 34 points and nine assists, played more like his usual self. Meanwhile, Jalen Brunson, although slowed down compared to his historic four-game performance, still managed 29 points.

However, even with these efforts, the Pacers faced challenges. Particularly when OG Anunoby had to leave the game in the third quarter due to an apparent leg injury.

Anunoby’s injury occurred during a transition layup, prompting Brunson to foul in order to stop play and allow for a substitution. The sequence highlighted the physical toll of the game and the strategic decisions teams must make in response to injuries.

The New York Knicks have faced a barrage of injuries throughout the season, and Game 2 was no exception. Just a day before their victorious matchup, backup center Mitchell Robinson was ruled out for six to eight weeks due to an ankle injury, likely ending his postseason run. This setback came on the heels of wing Bojan Bogdanovic being sidelined for the remainder of the season a week prior, following wrist and foot surgeries.


Additionally, the Knicks had already endured the loss of two-time All-NBA forward Julius Randle earlier in the year when he dislocated his shoulder in late January.

With a depleted roster, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has had to rely heavily on his starters, pushing them to play extensive minutes in recent weeks. Tuesday’s game marked the fourth occasion that Josh Hart logged all 48 minutes. Which is joining a select group of players to achieve this feat in postseason play. It is with the last being Jimmy Butler under Thibodeau’s coaching in 2013.

For OG Anunoby, the workload had been exceptionally demanding, averaging 46 minutes over the four games leading up to Tuesday’s matchup. This was the highest minutes average he had ever recorded over a four-game span in his career. Which is according to ESPN Stats & Information. The strain on players due to the Knicks’ injury woes underscores the challenges they have faced throughout the postseason.