Jalen Brunson was elite in his return from injury

In his first game back, returning Jalen Brunson was at another level. Setting the tone, Brunson scored 10 points in the first quarter. A series of offensive strikes saw Brunson attack effectively from all three levels, dominating Orlando and setting the tone for them to never gain leverage in the contest.

Brunson finished with 26 points on 57.9% from the floor. A deep 3-pointer by Brunson in the first quarter increased the lead to 12, and Orlando never sniffed a lead the entire game.

New York’s best defense in over a month, occurring with Brunson’s return, is no coincidence. The All-Star’s absence has led to an offensive over-reliance on less skilled players, thus leading to a greater appreciation for what Brunson brings out every night.