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Jalen Brunson Scores Steller 38 Points As Knicks Victorious Over Bucks

Jalen Brunson (Credits: Rob Carr/Getty)

The New York Knicks had dropped their first three encounters against the Milwaukee Bucks this season, but on Christmas Day, Jalen Brunson played with determination to halt that losing streak from stretching to four games.

Brunson’s stellar performance included 38 points, the highest by a Knicks player on Christmas Day since Bernard King’s legendary 60-point game in 1984, leading New York to a 129-122 victory over Milwaukee. This win for the Knicks snapped the Bucks’ seven-game winning streak.

“We’ve struggled against this team throughout this year and the fact that we came out with a win today, it’s special,” Brunson remarked post-game. “I like the way we had a lead no matter how much they cut the lead down. We stayed poised and figured out a way to keep it and win.”

After a defeat to the Bucks just two days prior, the Knicks started aggressively in the first quarter on Monday. They posted 36 points in the period, their highest first-quarter tally of the season, and maintained the lead throughout the game.

Four Knicks players – Brunson (38), Julius Randle (24), RJ Barrett (21), and Immanuel Quickley (20) – all scored at least 20 points, marking only the second time in the past 50 years that a team achieved this on Christmas Day.

“We had a lot of guys in double figures and a lot of assists,” Quickley observed. “It was fun to play like that when everybody is moving and touching [the ball]. I think our defense really bled into our offense, so that has got to be the way every night.”

Despite strong performances from Milwaukee’s Big 3 – Giannis Antetokounmpo (32 points), Damian Lillard (32 points), and Khris Middleton (24 points) combining for 88 points – the Knicks maintained their lead and control over the game.

“They came out and played like they had practiced and talked about it,” Lillard acknowledged. “They played faster, played with a lot of energy and I thought they had a more collective effort, too.

Jalen Brunson (Credits: Bill Streicher)

They had a lot of guys contribute to the win. We could’ve done a lot of things better and gave ourselves a little bit of a chance in the end, but it was just too late.”

Despite the Bucks narrowing the deficit to just four points in the fourth quarter, Brunson’s exceptional performance proved insurmountable.

He contributed to 51 points through scoring or assisting, generated 18 points from his drives, and his passes led to his teammates making 6-of-11 shots. Additionally, he made 15 field goals, 11 of which were contested.

Brunson has consistently performed well against Milwaukee this season despite the Knicks’ 1-3 record in their four matchups, averaging 35.8 points.

“Had a little bit more energy today now and it showed … from start to finish,” Brunson commented.

“A lot of times in our coverages, [Brunson has] been able to get to his spots, but we’ve been able to control the game regardless,” Lillard added. “But sometimes when a guy gets rolling and they get comfortable and they start feeling good, when it becomes a tight game, it can be a problem.”

Nonetheless, the Bucks found solace in splitting their games against the Knicks over the weekend.

“It was kind of like a playoff matchup,” Antetokounmpo reflected. “We’ve played this team four times in the past month, month and a half. Two times in the past few days.

“It’s a good test for us. We’re going to play teams in the playoffs twice [on the road], so being able to win the first one, lose the second one, it’s good. We’ll learn from it.”

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