National Basketball Association
Jalen Brunson scores 43, rallies Knicks to 121-117 win over Pacers in Game 1 of Eastern Conference semis
National Basketball Association

Jalen Brunson scores 43, rallies Knicks to 121-117 win over Pacers in Game 1 of Eastern Conference semis

Published May. 6, 2024 10:48 p.m. ET

Jalen Brunson scored 43 points, becoming the fourth player in NBA history with four straight 40-point games in the postseason, and the New York Knicks beat the Indiana Pacers 121-117 on Monday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Brunson had 21 in the fourth quarter, rallying the Knicks after they trailed by nine early in the period, and joined Hall of Famers Jerry West, who had six consecutive 40-point games in the postseason, and Michael Jordan and Bernard King (both with four).

Donte DiVincenzo hit the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining and scored 25 for the Knicks, who opened the second round with the type of close finish that their first-round victory over Philadelphia was full of. Josh Hart added a playoff career-high 24 points and added 13 rebounds and eight assists.


The No. 2-seeded Knicks will host Game 2 on Wednesday.

Myles Turner scored 23 points for the sixth-seeded Pacers, who got strong play from their bench and were in good shape to follow their first-round ouster of Milwaukee by jumping to the lead against the Knicks.

But Brunson guided New York through another tight finish, after it outscored Philadelphia by one total point over six games in the first round.

Brunson soundly outplayed fellow All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, the NBA's assists leader who finished with six points and eight assists after being listed as questionable with back spasms.

Pascal Siakam scored 19 for Indiana and T.J. McConnell added 18, leading a bench that finished with a whopping 46-3 advantage over its New York counterparts.

The bench isn't a big priority for the Knicks, who will ride Brunson, Hart and DiVincenzo as far as they can take them.

Hart played all 48 minutes, DiVincenzo 44 and Brunson 43.

It was all enough to get the Knicks the early lead, their first in a series later than the first round since the 2000 East semifinals against Miami.

They lost Eastern Conference finals to the Pacers that year as part of their fierce playoff rivalry that began in the 1990s. The teams met three straight times from 1993-95 and again from 1998-2000 — when Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau and Indiana's Rick Carlisle were assistants with their current teams.

The renewal is off to a pretty eye-pleasing start.

McConnell's basket made it 94-85 with about 10 1/2 minutes remaining and signaled an early end to what was supposed to be a rest for Brunson. He returned to spark an 8-0 run that got the Knicks right back into it, and when Indiana went back ahead 109-104 with 4:27 to go, he scored seven points in a 9-0 burst that gave New York a 113-109 lead.

The Pacers went back ahead 115-113 before Brunson tied it and DiVincenzo hit from behind the arc for the lead, just as he did in a Game 2 rally to beat the 76ers.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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