NBA playoffs: Jalen Brunson drops 38 points against Heat in Game 5 to keep Knicks alive

·4-min read

With the New York Knicks' season on the line, Jalen Brunson delivered. Brunson played the entire game and dropped 38 points to down the Miami Heat 112-103 in Game 5.

With the victory, Brunson and the Knicks forced a Game 6, which will take place Friday as the Heat lead 3-2.

While New York walked away the winner, it was the Heat who looked motivated at the start of the contest. After keeping things close early, the Heat went on a 10-2 run in the middle of the quarter. A controversial flagrant foul by Josh Hart set the Heat up for a late run to close out the quarter.

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With under a minute to go, Hart was called for a flagrant foul on a 3-point attempt by Jimmy Butler. The play was reviewed and officials confirmed the call.

Butler, who led the Heat with 19 points, hit 2 of his 3 free-throw attempts to make it a 6-point game. Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin added baskets to down the stretch to make it a 24-14 game in favor of the Heat.

Just as things were threatening to get out of hand, the Knicks answered. The team hit its first seven shots in the second quarter, and went on an 18-2 run to take back the lead.

Robinson finally hit a 3-pointer to send the Heat on a 7-0 run. That gave the Heat a 3-point lead with 5:56 to play in the half. That was the biggest lead for either team down the stretch of the first half. The two teams traded baskets to end the quarter. With just over a second to play, Julius Randle gave the Knicks a 50-47 lead heading into halftime.

Randle, who finished with 24 points, gave the Knicks momentum to end the half, and both Brunson and R.J. Barrett capitalized in the third quarter. Brunson dropped 10 of his 38 points in the quarter. Barrett followed with 12 of his 26 points.

That helped the Knicks break open a 13-point lead with five minutes to play in the quarter. New York continued to put on the pressure, though a late 3-pointer by the Heat cut New York's lead to 10 entering the fourth.

The Knicks maintained that 10-point lead early in the quarter, but Miami finally got hot from beyond the arc. The Heat hit three consecutive 3-pointers to cut the Knicks' lead to just 4 points with seven minutes to play.

Jalen Brunson dropped 38 points in a win over the Heat in Game 5. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Jalen Brunson dropped 38 points in a win over the Heat in Game 5. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

With roughly five minutes to play, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra changed up his strategy. He had Heat players foul Knicks center Mitchell Robinson to send him to the free-throw line. Robinson, who shot 48% at the line this season, hit 3 of his 4 attempts before being taken out of the game.

Though the strategy backfired, the Heat didn't flinch. Duncan Robinson kept the Heat in the game with a clutch 3-pointer. He finished with 17 points and went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.

With Miami trailing by 6 points with 1:31 to play, Knicks guard Quentin Grimes pulled off the play of the night. After getting tangled up on defense and falling to the ground, Grimes — who was clearly in pain — recovered enough to steal the ball from Butler.

Grimes and Brunson each played all 48 minutes.

With the Heat in desperation mode, the team failed to hit on two consecutive 3-pointers in the final minute of the game. Robinson was fouled and once again sent to the line, where he made 1 of his 2 free throws. Randle snagged the offensive rebound on the miss, and laid it in to put the game out of reach.