Jalen Brunson Joins Michael Jordan and LeBron James in The Playoffs

Jalen Brunson Joins Michael Jordan and LeBron James in The Playoffs

Jalen Brunson lifted the depleted New York Knicks to victory in Game 5 against the Indiana Pacers. In case you needed a news flash: the Knicks are without their All-Star power forward, two starters, and a key rotational player. Yet, No. 11 continues to reach down to the final straw to make ends meet for his team. With another stunning performance last night, Jalen Brunson inched closer to the NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer in a postseason feat. If New York can muddle through and reach the next round, it’ll go down as quite a moment for the franchise’s superstar point guard.

Jalen Brunson: Nearing LeBron, Passing Jordan

Many doubted the New York Knicks’ decision to go all-out for Jalen Brunson 2 summers ago. He was said to be an overpay and not the piece the Knicks needed to become championship contenders. After leading New York to consecutive playoff appearances and more series wins than the franchise had won in the many previous years combined, Brunson has expunged the criticism. Brunson’s 43 points in Game 1 against Indiana was his 4th straight 40-point playoff game, the most since Michael Jordan 31 years ago.

Here is Brunson postgame:

“I don’t really worry about it,” Brunson said after Game 1. “I understand what’s going on. It’s obviously very cool. It makes it better to know that it came off a win, most importantly. But no matter what the situation is — positive or negative — I have to always come back better.” 

Brunson realizes that his performances are elite. But with his team struggling mightly in the health department, Brunson understands the challenges ahead if the Knicks are fortunate enough to advance to the next round.

Game 5: Brunson Does It Again

If there has been any game all season that’s been a true testament to Jalen Brunson’s mental toughness, it was last night’s Game 5.

After dropping their previous 2 games in Indiana, Brunson rallied New York to a +15 2nd half margin at home. Over the final two periods, Brunson outscored star counterpart Tyrese Haliburton 16-6. For the game, Brunson scored 44 points — 28 in the first half — and nearly recorded half the points Indiana scored as a team. When the buzzer sounded last night, Brunson captured another playoff milestone. Brunson registered his 5th 40-point game in a single postseason — something the league hasn’t seen since LeBron James.

On May 15, 2018, James recorded his 5th 40-point game of the postseason. On May 14th, 2024, Brunson scored his 5th 40-point game. If Brunson maintains the pace he’s on, he has the opportunity to shatter James’ record during the tournament. If he can continue his heroics with such a limited roster, Brunson’s 2024 playoff run will go down as an all-timer.

“One thing I’ve learned about the playoffs is that one game doesn’t have any effect on the next,” Brunson said after Game 5. “No matter what the situation is — whether you lose by 1 or 30 — it has nothing to do with the next game. It’s all about how we prepare for Game 6.”

Brunson’s play this postseason undeniably deserves to be lauded. But Brunson’s leadership has arguably been just as exceeding, if not better. Game 6 returns to Indiana on Friday. For the Knicks to win a 4th game, Brunson will need to be all-world again.

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