The New York Knicks were coming off an uninspiring defeat against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a game that saw them allow a league-high 145 points this season. With the rumblings about Tom Thibodeau’s lack of job security growing louder amid the inconsistent Knicks performances from game to game, the Knicks could be feeling a growing sense of desperation to turn things around especially as they seek to return to playoff contention.
And $104 million man Jalen Brunson, surely enough, said the game that that is exactly what the team is feeling, able to channel that feeling of desperation into improved play on the court, spurring the Knicks to a much-needed 118-111 victory over the better-than-expected Utah Jazz.
“A sense of desperation,” Brunson answered, when MSG play-by-play commentator Mike Breen asked what the difference was between their lackadaisical defensive performance against the Thunder and their late-game spurt to take the game over the Jazz.
Still, despite it being early in the season, the Knicks know that they cannot afford to let their foot off the gas pedal, and Jalen Brunson and the Knicks would definitely want to channel this kind of motivation on a more consistent basis.
It’s not as if the Knicks have been awful to begin the year, as they have started the first 14 games with a .500 record (7-7). Alas, their performances just haven’t been convincing, as the nature of their losses have been of the disheartening kind, perhaps due to a lack of effort or toughness.
At the end of the day, Jalen Brunson is hardly at fault for any of the Knicks’ shortcomings. After a breakout 2022 playoff run with the Dallas Mavericks, the 26-year old southpaw has not missed a beat, averaging 19.9 points, 3.5 boards, and 6.9 assists thus far in the season.
His latest effort was a 25-point, 8-dime performance against the Jazz, continuing his mastery over the franchise he torched in last year’s postseason, and the Knicks will continue to rely on him the deeper they go into the season.