Knicks history means nothing to Jalen Brunson – In the best way

Jalen Brunson offered a resounding reminder to anyone who doubted his postseason abilities Sunday afternoon, serving as the driving force behind the Knicks’ 97-92 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The point guard lived up to his headline bill and then some, breaking a franchise record that Bernard King had held for 40 years with 47 points.

The story, however, means nothing to Brunson, who has vowed not to think about the honor unless King decides to retire to join the cause.

“It feels really good,” Brunson said, according to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “But unless (King) comes back and helps us win the next game, I promise I’ll think about (setting the record) later.”

Brunson has spent the last two seasons squashing every narrative that has come his way and Sunday was the latest example: perhaps left for dead by some observers after shooting just over 29% from the field in the first two games, Brunson took the place of a Knick match that saw the guests of Manhattan reduced to seven men following the injuries of Bojan Bogdanovic and Mitchell Robinson.

Subplots centered on further slights emerged: Brunson was not included on any list of finalists for major individual awards, including MVP (although both home and opposing arenas are still more than happy to chant initials in his favor), and he also stayed away from the scene. He Olympic roster of the US men’s national team despite him being the leading American scorer. An early Philadelphia breakout, which threatened to send the series back to Madison Square Garden tied 2-2, had Brunson deniers ready to send up a storm of X posts to justify his rejections.

Instead, Brunson took over in obvious and subtle ways: Between points and assists, he had a direct role in 31 of the Knicks’ first 34 tallies before he was given a rest late in the second period. He refused to back down from Philadelphia MVP/shaker Joel Embiid and continued to throw his body to the floor even as he briefly retreated to the locker room with a slight limp at the start of the fourth.

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