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Jalen Brunson scores career-high 47 points in playoffs, leads Knicks past 76ers to 3-1 lead

Jalen Brunson scored a career-high 47 points in the playoffs, added 10 assists and the New York Knicks beat the Philadelphia 76ers 97-92 on Sunday to take a 3-1 lead in their playoff series of the first round.

OG Anunoby added 16 points and 14 rebounds and took on some of the defensive assignment against Joel Embiid in the fourth quarter as the Knicks cruised to a victory to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the second straight year .

The No. 2 seed Knicks can do that with a home win Tuesday night.

Embiid played the entire second half after the 76ers faltered badly when he sat out in the first. But the All-Star center, who has ongoing issues with his surgically repaired left knee and appeared to re-injure it after a dunk in Game 1, and who was recently diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a form of facial paralysis, could not gather. a basket in the fourth quarter.

Embiid finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Tyrese Maxey added 23 points for the 76ers, who will try to force another home game, which would be Thursday.

Not that the 76ers had much of a home-court advantage on Sunday. Knicks fans were all over the arena and gave Brunson louder chants of “MVP! MVP!” that Embiid – who won the award last season – received from local fans.

Brunson deserved every one of them on a day when some of his usual support couldn’t get going.

Josh Hart missed all seven shots and Donte DiVincenzo missed his first seven. But Hart pulled down 17 rebounds and the Knicks kept going after missed shots, especially when it was clear Embiid didn’t have the energy to keep chasing them, and scored 21 second-chance points.

Brunson was in the locker room to start the fourth quarter, but returned to hit a basket against Embiid during a 6-0 Knicks run that gave them the lead for good and made it 86 -81. He made another basket that made it 95-89 with 55 seconds left and the Knicks closed out the game.

Embiid scored 50 points, his best score in the playoffs, to lead the 76ers to victory in Game 3. He got them off to a strong start in Game 4, but Brunson quickly became the dominant player on the court, for the first time All-Star finishing 18. of 34 from the field.

Brunson’s shot was out of range in both games in New York, but whatever worked for the Sixers against New York is now gone. The point guard had 39 on Thursday and confidently moved into his spot in Game 4, looking like the player who finished fourth in the NBA with 28.7 per game.

Embiid tried to keep up. With 76ers Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Allen Iverson sitting behind the baseline, the current Sixers star showed how much the current Philadelphia team needed him on the court. But without rest, he wilted late and finished 7-of-19.

Brunson had a 41-point game for Dallas against Utah in 2022 and another for the Knicks last year against Miami, but that one came in Game 6 where the Knicks’ season ended.

He didn’t let them lose on Sunday, and a crowd that seemed divided between major Northeast cities sounded decidedly Knicks down the stretch.

The Knicks played without backup center Mitchell Robinson because of a sprained left ankle, then lost reserve swingman Bojan Bogdanovic to a bruised left ankle after Nicolas Batum fell on him while chasing a loose ball after barely a minute of play.

So the Knicks relied on the guys they had, with Anunoby playing 47 minutes, Hart 46 and Brunson 43.

The 76ers led by 10 after one quarter. But Philadelphia couldn’t get anything going offensively with Embiid on the bench to start the second and New York capitalized.

The Knicks held the 76ers without a field goal while outscoring them 12-2 to start the period, with Brunson’s basket shortly after Embiid’s putback tying the game at 29. Maxey made a 3-pointer for Philadelphia’s first field goal of the period almost halfway, but five straight points from Brunson put New York back in front at 34-32.

The 76ers regained the lead and led 49-47 at halftime.

Philadelphia went up by double digits again in the third before a few bad turnovers halted their momentum and DiVincenzo finally went ahead with back-to-back 3-pointers.

Associated Press reporting.

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Jalen Brunson

New York Knicks

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