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Anne Photograp News 2024

Scenes from Jalen Brunson winning Game Two on one foot
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Scenes from Jalen Brunson winning Game Two on one foot

Today, Nikola Jokic received his third NBA MVP award. Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks finished fifth in the voting. We humbly submit the following game with our petition for a revote.

Game Two of the 2024 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Knicks and the Indiana Pacers was hotly contested to start. After a matchup between OG Anunoby and Tyrese Haliburton, the teams ended the first quarter tied at 36 points. With Jalen Brunson sidelined by a sore foot, the Knicks went on a 17-point swing in the second quarter and trailed the Pacers 73-63 at halftime despite 10 more points from Anunoby. Jalen returned to eviscerate the Pacers 36-18 in the third quarter, and although Indy made a valiant effort to cut their deficit to one point in the fourth – aided by a hamstring injury to Anunoby – the Nova Knicks take over in critical time to secure the lead. 130-121 victory.

We’ve exhausted our supply of superlatives to describe Jalen’s greatness. On one foot he finished the game with 29 points, 24 in the second half. He had five assists, three steals and shot 11-of-18 from the floor. The Knicks won by nine and Jalen finished with a +26. New York takes a 2-0 lead as the series goes to Indiana.

For the Pacers, Haliburton finished with 34 points and bench player Obi Toppin added 20 points (7-of-10 FG).

OG Anunoby had posted a new playoff career-high of 28 points (on 10-of-19 shooting) in 28 minutes before hurting his hammy. Josh Hart, of course, recorded a double-double with 19 points, 15 boards, seven assists, one steal and a block. Another 48 minutes played. It’s still early, but Josh Hart could be my Halloween costume.

Not to be outdone, Isaiah Hartenstein recorded his own 14-point, 12-board double-double and added eight assists. And Donte DiVincenzo shot 50% from the field and from downtown, good for 28 points.

First half

The Pacers came out with a renewed commitment to defense, applying pressure all over the court. Both teams worked hard for every bucket. New York made six of its first nine attempts to maintain a close 13-10 lead midway through the quarter. The Knicks tried to get OG Anunoby going early and other than a missed dunk, he proved too strong for the visitors. He led the Knicks with 12 points in the span while shooting 5-for-8 from the field.

The Knicks went on a 15-3 run to put some breathing room on the board. Indiana overtook an 11-0 deficit on its own. The Knicks had shot 76% from the floor and 50% from deep. Without Tyrese Haliburton, they would blow the Pacers out. The NBA’s assist leader scored six points in game one, but 13 in the first quarter tonight. After the first 12 minutes the teams were tied at 36.

At 3:32 of the first quarter, Jalen Brunson fouled out and went to the locker room. He didn’t play in the second quarter, and while we waited for word of his absence, New York worked hard to maintain Indy’s pace but was swung by 17 points. Anunoby did his best to keep New York alive, scoring another 10 points in the quarter and ending the half with 22. Equally ruthless, Haliburton also scored 22 points at intermission.

Late in the quarter we learned that Brunson was questionable to return with a sore right foot. Coincidentally, the Knicks were down 11 points. With less than two minutes left, Donte DiVincenzo dropped five points to stem the bleeding. The ghost of Alec Burks checked in just before halftime to give Miles McBride a blow. He responded to the buzzer. Nods down, 73-63. Yes, 73.

Both teams scored 32 points in the first half. Indiana had the edge in second-chance points, 12-4, rebounds, 21-18 and assists, 19-13. New York had outscored the Hoosiers, 58% to 57%, but Indiana was cooking from deep, making 10 of 19.

Second half

When I heard that producer and musician Steve Albini died today, I told a friend that Albini’s stubbornness was second to none. I forgot about Jalen Brunson. Despite the sore foot, Jalen returned to start the second half. He looked great on DiVincenzo for this corner three.

A minute later, Brunson was flattened by an attacking foul from Myles Turner. Another minute later, he made a controversial layup in traffic and smashed the floor. He hit the And 1 free throw. Durable? His skeleton is adamantium. With Jalen back, New York screamed after a 25-8 run to turn the Hoosiers’ heads.

Then Anunoby, who was sitting on a playoff career-high of 28 points, got off to a weak start on a fastbreak with an apparent hammy problem. He limped to the locker room. Another vital Knick injured. . . . After giving up 73 points in the first half, New York held Indy to 18 points in the third. As the crowd shook the roof of the Garden, the home team took a 99-91 lead into the final frame.

The TNT crew reported that Anunoby’s sore hamstring ended his night. Tom Thibodeau went small to start the fourth, with a lineup of Brunson, Deuce, DiVincenzo, Hart and Precious Achiuwa. They fought hard, but a 10-3 Indiana run cut their lead to a sliver. TJ McConnell was a liability for Jalen, and things were rocky between them. However, when Nembhard returns, all lights go green.

Crunch time is when the Nova Knicks shine the brightest. Jalen and Josh got to the timely buckets, then Donte chased down Haliburton and picked up his pass. DiVo hit a corner three, and Precious hammered in a dunk to give the Knicks a seven-point lead with 3:38 to go.

With two minutes left, Haliburton hit two freebies to make us sweat, but Donte threw another triple to get us screaming. Aaron Nesmith hit a three-pointer to make it a six-point difference. There was a controversial double dribble from Hartenstein that was reversed (and almost caused Rick Carlisle to take a swing), Precious grabbed another clutch board, and Jalen humiliated Nembhard on the play to ice the game. Everything after that? Pure gravy, baby.

Next one

The Knicks have played eight playoff games and I’ve had eight heart attacks. Game Three will be played Friday in Indiana. Safe travels, Knickerbockers.

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