Knicks: Takeaways- Resilient Knicks survive injuries to Brunson, Anunoby in ...

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Published Time: 09.05.2024 - 02:04:13 Modified Time: 09.05.2024 - 02:04:13

"I thought we started the game well," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The end of the first didn’t go as well as we would like. Then the second quarter was a problem, but I loved the way we responded in the third and then the way we finished it out in the fourth." Knicks, Jalen Brunson, pacers vs knicks, knicks vs pacers, ny knicks, New York Knicks, Brunson, Indiana Pacers

NEW YORK – Nothing this season has been easy for the Knicks, but they somehow keep managing to find a way to win.

"I thought we started the game well," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The end of the first didn’t go as well as we would like. Then the second quarter was a problem, but I loved the way we responded in the third and then the way we finished it out in the fourth."

Donte DiVincenzo, who was stellar again and finished with 28 points, drained a three with less than two minutes left to give the Knicks a nine-point lead before Aaron Nesmith responded with one of his own on the other end.

Brunson hit a floater with 41.7 seconds left as the crowd erupted.

The final minute saw Pacers coach Rick Carlisle pick up his second technical foul and an ejection as the Knicks finished off a victory to take a commanding lead in the series.

The Knicks shot 57 percent from the field and went 14-of-30 from the perimeter.

"I think shot-making and just sharing the ball," Josh Hart said. "I don’t think we really took bad shots."

Tyrese Haliburton led Indiana with 34 points after scoring just six in Game 1.

The vibe in The Garden turned from euphoria to worry late in the first half when Knicks star Jalen Brunson left the game and returned to the locker room.

His father and Knicks assistant coach Rick later also left the bench, and team president Leon Rose wasn’t in his seat for much of the second quarter.

The Knicks later announced that Brunson was questionable to return because of a sore right foot – immediately throwing the team’s chances into question.

Without Brunson in the game, the Pacers took advantage and took a 73-63 lead into halftime.

But then during halftime, Brunson returned to the court for warmups.

The crowd erupted in applause. It serenaded him with more “MVP!” chants.

Just like that, the worry and fear his status dissipated.

With Brunson back in the game, the Knicks regained control and went on a 21-6 run to take a five-point lead midway through the third quarter.

The Knicks outscored the Pacers 36-18 in the period, which ended with the Knicks leading by eight.

Brunson finished with 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting (3-of-6 from deep) with two rebounds, five assists and three steals.

"I'm all good," Brunson said after the game. "And that's it."

His teammates weren't surprised he came back.

"He’s a warrior," DiVincenzo said. "That’s all I got. There was no doubt in our minds that he’ll be back. All season long no matter is thrown at him, injury bug or whatever, he always bounces back. We knew the severity of the game so we had confidence he was coming back."

Anunoby was stellar from the very beginning.

He was aggressive going to the basket, he knocked down threes and he played well on the defensive end as usual.

But all of that came to an end in the second half when Anunoby left the game – the team later announced it was due to a sore left hamstring.

So these injury-riddled Knicks have one more to deal with, though it’s unclear at this point how it’ll affect his status for the rest of the playoffs.

Anunoby had 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting (4-of-7 from three-point range) with four rebounds and three assists when he left Game 2.

"It was huge," Thibodeau said. "Huge. The way he got them, too, it was a little bit of everything. He made a nice play to Isaiah, a dribble handoff, we got a dunk I think off that. He ran the floor, hit threes, he was good in transition, he put in on the floor, he attacked the rim, he was decisive. All positive things."

The Knicks are already without Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic for the rest of the playoffs.

At this point, Josh Hart may never leave the court again. He again played all 48 minutes.

He doesn't want a break, either.

"Thibs always asks me if I need one, and I always tell him no," Hart said. "As a competitor, you want to play, you want to play every second. So that’s something that I want to do."

While Brunson has (rightfully) gotten so much attention for the way he’s played in the playoffs, Hart has also routinely come up huge – playing every minute along the way.

Hart finished Game 2 with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting (1-of-3 from long distance) with 15 rebounds and seven assists.

He drained a three-pointer with just less than eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter to put the Knicks ahead by four.

The Knicks’ frontcourt depth has taken a hit without Robinson, but that’s opened up an opportunity for Achiuwa.

He responded nicely in Game 2, finishing with eight points and five rebounds in 28 minutes.

"Yeah, it was huge," Thibodeau said. "I thought he played very well in the fourth quarter. We need that from him."