NBA Playoffs: Knicks lead Sixers as Jalen Brunson does something not seen since Michael Jordan

The New York Knicks took the lead against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, and they can primarily thank another standout performance from Jalen Brunson.

The All-Star point guard led his team to a 118-115 victory in Game 6, ending a controversial streak with a 41-point performance. This was the third straight game in which Brunson scored more than 40 points and the fourth straight game with at least 37 points. No player has done the latter in the playoffs since Michael Jordan In 1993.

New York will now face the Indiana Pacers, who knocked off the Milwaukee Bucks earlier Thursday, in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Game 1 is scheduled for Monday at 7:30 PM at Madison Square Garden (TNT).

Putting the Sixers away looked like a much easier task than expected in the first quarter, when the Knicks led by 22 points, but the Sixers came back and took the lead at halftime. The Knicks later regained control with a nine-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but the Sixers tied it again with 35 seconds left.

Cue Josh Hart:

Hart's 3-pointer gave the Knicks the lead and the subsequent basket from Joel Embiid still left the Sixers needing to draw a foul. Donte DiVincenzo and Brunson made four more free throws from there to keep the game out of reach and end the series.

In short, it was a very good game for the Villanova players.

It was a big game, too, for Joel Embiid, who scored 39 points on 12-of-25 shooting with 13 rebounds, two assists and five turnovers. He made a mistake in the last minute.

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If you told Sixers fans that Embiid dropped by 39 points while their bench put up 42 points, they would likely ask you for time for Game 7. Unfortunately, the scoreless outings by Tobias Harris and Kyle Lowry left them with a lot of work to make up for with a more cohesive Knicks team. .

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 02: Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks passes Nicolas Batum #40 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference First Round playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 02, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

The Sixers had the momentum, but the Knicks had Jalen Brunson. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

With rotation member Bojan Bogdanovic out for the season due to wrist and foot injuries, the Knicks relied heavily on their key players to lead them to the finish line. Brunson, Hart, DiVincenzo and OG Anunoby each played at least 43 minutes, with DiVincenzo remaining on the court the entire game. Mitchell Robinson and Myles McBride were the only bench players to see the floor, scoring a combined five points.

This strategy may have left New York itching for Game 7, but it paid off.

It was a fitting end to one of Round 1's most eventful series. The Knicks won Games 1 and 2, but only won the latter due to a frenetic sequence in which the NBA admitted New York committed several fouls to force a turnover. It took a 50-point performance from Embiid for the Sixers to avoid a 3-0 gap, only for Brunson to respond with a 47-point performance in Game 4. Then came a career night from Tyrese Maxey to avoid elimination.

It's been a serial drama, and Nix should be glad it's over.

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