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Jalen Brunson Heroics! The Knicks take a 2-0 series lead over the Pacers

NEW YORK — On a night that encapsulated the resilience and determination that has defined the New York Knicks’ remarkable season, it was Jalen Brunson’s gutsy return from injury that sparked the team’s comeback victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. .

The scene was set at the iconic Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks found themselves trailing the Pacers 73-63 at halftime.

But the real drama unfolded during halftime when Brunson, the Knicks’ star point guard, emerged from the locker room to try out an injured right leg that forced him to leave the game late in the first quarter.

When Brunson stepped onto the court, a deafening roar erupted from the Knicks faithful, a sound so loud it echoed into the locker room, where his teammates heard a standing ovation.

«It was really cool, but I knew I had to get my mind in the right place to figure out how I was going to attack in the second half,» Brunson later recalled, describing the moment he was greeted with chants by the passionate crowd. «MVP.»

Brunson’s mere presence on the court seemed to energize the Knicks, who struggled to generate offense without their point guard.

In the first five and a half minutes of the second half, New York had already created a 15-point swing, gained a five-point lead and turned the tide of the game.

«He’s a warrior,» said Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo, who finished with 28 points. “I had no doubt he would come back.

Brunson’s comeback was a testament to his toughness and leadership, qualities that have endeared him to his teammates and coaches.

«He’s a great leader and all the players have respect when a guy tries to give his all.» It says a lot about him,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. «For me, actions speak louder than words. It says you care a lot about your team and your teammates.”

The victory came at a cost, however, as Knicks star guard OG Anunoby suffered a left hamstring injury in the third quarter and was forced to leave the game.

Anunoby, who had a career-high 28 points in 28 minutes on the court in the playoffs, hobbled to the locker room and Thibodeau acknowledged he had not yet received an update on the severity of the injury.

The Knicks’ health issues have been a recurring theme all season, with Mitchell Robinson ruled out for six to eight weeks with an ankle injury just a day before Game 2 and Bojan Bogdanovic and Julius Randle have already been sidelined for the rest of the season with injuries.

Despite these setbacks, the Knicks refused to back down, with players like Josh Hart (19 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists) logging huge minutes to compensate for a depleted roster.

Hart became the first player since Thibodeau coached Jimmy Butler in 2013 to play all 48 minutes of a game four times in a single postseason.

The game was not without controversy, as a questionable officiating decision late in the fourth quarter nearly turned the tide in Indiana’s favor.

With the Knicks leading 124-118 with just over a minute remaining, the officials initially signaled a double-dribble violation on Hartenstein, which would have awarded the ball to the Pacers.

However, after a short huddle, the officials ruled an unintentional whistle, allowing the Knicks to retain possession.

The decision drew the ire of Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, who received two technical fouls and was ejected from the game.

Despite the drama and adversity they faced, the Knicks persevered and took a 2-0 series lead over the Pacers.

As they head to Indianapolis for Games 3 and 4, the team’s resilience and unwavering spirit, epitomized by Brunson’s heroic comeback, will no doubt serve as a source of inspiration and motivation.

In a season full of challenges and setbacks, the Knicks have proven time and time again that they have the mental strength and determination to overcome any obstacle.

With Brunson leading the charge and the unwavering support of their devoted fans, the Knicks are poised to continue their quest for postseason glory, one gritty performance after another.

Information is collected from CBS Sports and USA Today

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