At least for one recreation, Jalen Brunson confirmed why he must be an All-Star over Tyrese Haliburton.
With disparaging remarks from a Knicks TV analyst about Haliburton hanging over the night at MSG, Brunson was once more the clutch hero within the house crew’s 119-113 victory Wednesday over the Pacers.
Brunson scored seven of his game-high 34 factors within the ultimate three minutes, because the Knicks (23-19) prevented a close to collapse. They led by 25 factors within the third quarter and allowed it to dwindle to 2 within the fourth. What else is new?
Brunson bailed them out with the assistance of Quentin Grimes, who nailed a clutch 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining. Julius Randle’s greatest contribution on an off evening (14 factors on 12 photographs) was a block on Bennedict Mathurin with 2:37 left.
RJ Barrett returned from his finger damage and put up good stats — 27 factors with eight rebounds in 41 minutes — however a pair errors down the stretch that almost sacrificed the victory.
There was some additional juice to this matchup courtesy of remarks from MSG Network analyst Wally Szczerbiak.
In a earlier postgame broadcast, Szczerbiak took photographs at Haliburton to prop up the All-Star candidacies of Randle and Brunson. Szczerbiak, a former participant, referred to as Haliburton a “fake wannabe All-Star,” which was a transparent act of homerism — and hardly goal journalism — but in addition not unusual sentiment from a regional sports activities community when discussing the opposition.
Szczerbiak apologized on air amid the backlash, which was additionally foolish (would Charles Barkley ever apologize for criticizing a participant?). But it was too late: Haliburton addressed it a few instances, and not too long ago informed ESPN that he had no real interest in answering Szczerbiak’s makes an attempt at reaching out.
“Won’t name any names, but there was some fuel to that fire that sparked our All-Star to come out and take us to the next level,” Pacers guard TJ McConnell stated. “It started with Tyrese. He’s been phenomenal.”
If something, although, Wednesday evening simply proved Szczerbiak appropriate. Haliburton, the league chief in assists, managed simply 15 factors in 27 minutes earlier than being dominated out with a sore knee within the third quarter. He was hounded by Grimes, who added to his status as a defensive stopper earlier than nailing the dagger trey.
The Pacers (23-19), who had been additionally lacking injured middle Myles Turner, wanted an enormous evening from Buddy Hield (31 factors) to remain within the recreation.
Barrett, in the meantime, confirmed little rust in his first recreation since Dec. 27. His six-game absence was the consequence of a lacerated finger on his non-shooting hand, which Barrett grotesquely described as a dislocation that left his tendons uncovered.
He nailed a 3-pointer on the primary possession simply 18 seconds within the recreation, and he took off with 16 factors within the first half on 6-of-12 capturing. The second half was extra of a wrestle and he completed 9-of-23 from the sector.