Knicks vs. Pacers: Jalen Brunson joins Michael Jordan, Bernard King, Jerry West in historic postseason club

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Jalen Brunson continued his mission to turn the NBA playoffs into his own personal nuclear wasteland with 43 points in the New York Knicks’ wild, 121-117 Game 1 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday. 

After putting up 47, 40 and 41 in the final three games of the Philadelphia series, Brunson has now hit the 40-point mark in four straight playoff games. Only three other players in history have done that: Michael Jordan, who was the last to do it in 1993, Bernard King and Jerry West, who went for 40 in a record six straight playoff games in 1965. 

Brunson’s name is all over the history books after this latest showing, in which he added six rebounds and six assists on 14-of-26 shooting. Let the record reflect:

  • Brunson is the first player in history to post at least 40 points and five assists in four straight playoff games. 
  • Brunson is the first player in history to record at least 39 points on at least 45% shooting in five straight playoff games. 
  • Brunson is the first player in history to average 40 points and nine assists over a five-game playoff span. 
  • Brunson is the fifth player in history to record 30-plus points and five-plus assists in five consecutive playoff games, joining Oscar Robertson, Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James.
  • Brunson’s 210 points over his last five games is the most anyone has scored over any five-game playoff span since Jordan in 1993. 

In addition to all this, Brunson is one of just 10 players in history to notch three straight road playoff games with at least 35 points. He’ll have a chance to extend that particular mark to 11 at Indiana for Game 3 on Friday. Brunson will look to extend all these other marks in Game 2 at the Garden on Wednesday. 

In the meantime, have a look at this ledger:

We have to start having the “is Jalen Brunson the best point guard in the league” conversation. Surely there are strong cases for Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but Brunson’s name belong right beside the best players in the game, at any position. His patient probes and sublime footwork make for what is truly an indefensible midrange game. His physicality. His balance. Look how many different ways he creates shots: 

This is unbelievable stuff we’re seeing from Brunson, who has ratcheted up his scoring volume considerably in the absence of Julius Randle in these playoffs. Coming into this postseason, Brunson had played in over 300 career games, including the playoffs, and he had only taken more than 25 shots in 18 of them. That equates to less than 6% of the time. 

He has taken more than 25 shots in all seven playoff games so far. He didn’t take his foot off the gas for one second even after going 12-for-55 through the first two games of the Philly series. It was only a matter of time until he got going, and once he did, he has not looked back. 

Brunson has already secured himself as a bonafide Knicks legend. Seriously. He has put a level of juice into this team not felt since the days of Patrick Ewing. His five 40-point playoffs games already ranks second in franchise history to Bernard King’s seven. Brunson isn’t even finished with his second postseason in New York! There is a lot more of this story to be written. It continues on Wednesday. 

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