Jalen Brunson Makes Eyebrow-Raising Admission Following Knicks Loss to Heat

Jalen Brunson, Jimmy Butler, New York Knicks

Getty Jalen Brunson, Jimmy Butler, New York Knicks

Speaking to the media following the New York Knicks‘ 108-101 loss to the Miami Heat in the opening game of their second-round playoff series, Jalen Brunson shouldered the blame for his team’s loss.

“They finished the third quarter strong,” Brunson said. “Finished the second-quarter strong. There were key moments in the game where you need to finish strong and be strong, and that starts with me. Today I was horrific. Very uncharacteristic of me, and this one is on me. I got to get better”

Despite the loss, the Knicks played with physicality, intensity, and a genuine desire to win. However, a poor shooting performance from the entire roster all but consigned them to defeat, as New York saw just 7 of their 34 three-point attempts register points on the scoreboard.
Of course, Brunson’s performance wasn’t the only factor in the Knicks’ failure to overcome Miami, but his status as the team’s primary offensive option meant that he carried a significant portion of their offensive load and failed to capitalize on a plethora of opportunities.

Josh Hart Urges Knicks to Take Their Chances

During his own post-game press conference on April 30, fan-favorite wing Josh Hart discussed his team’s inability to convert their perimeter looks, noting how their shot profile was good, but their execution let them down.

“I think we’re taking the right ones,” Hart said. “We’re just not making shots right now. That’s the biggest thing. I think we did a hell of a job in terms of playing tough, playing physical. We didn’t make shots, and we still gave ourselves a chance to win late in the fourth. We know that we’re frustrated with that, but that’s something we can change.”

Hart, 28, ended the contest against Miami with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists while shooting 41.7% from the field and going 0-of-4 from the perimeter, also failing to get to the free throw line despite playing 43 minutes of game time.

RJ Barrett Expected a Tough Series

The Miami Heat may have ended the regular season as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, but there’s no doubt of their ability to be a difficult opponent in the postseason. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is often viewed as the best coach in the NBA, and Miami boasts multiple elite competitors such as Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

As such, Knicks forward RJ Barrett wasn’t expecting an easy series for his team, which was something he discussed following New York’s April 30 loss.

“From playing them throughout the course of the year, they are never going to give up,” Barrett said. “That’s one thing that I personally enjoy about this series, is that it’s going to be hard-fought”
Now, both teams will head back to the film room to look at ways they can improve their performance and pinpoint areas of weakness they can exploit. Fortunately, neither side will need to wait too long for their next meeting, as the second game of the series is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2 – a game in which the Knicks will be hoping to even the score.
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