Jalen Brunson stats, minutes: Knicks star says now is time to go ‘all out’

The New York Knicks-Philadelphia 76ers’ first-round series has turned into a slugfest.

The Knicks lead the series 3-2, but blew a golden opportunity to close out the series on Tuesday. New York led by six with 34 seconds remaining before Tyrese Maxey scored six points by himself to force overtime. The Sixers went on to win, 112-106 in overtime.

Four of the five games have come down to the final minutes. The Sixers have outscored the Knicks by just two total points across five games. 

The heavy minutes load and intensity of the series seems to already be wearing on players. Of the 10 total starters across both teams, six of them played 40-plus minutes on Tuesday. Joel Embiid is visibly limping at the end of games. Players’ shots from both sides came up short in the overtime period in Game 5.

The load was evident in Knicks star Jalen Brunson, who scored 40 points in Game 5, but shot 3-of-8 with two turnovers in overtime. 

Brunson logged nearly 51 minutes in Game 5. He played 44 and 45 minutes in the two games prior.

However, Brunson is not worrying about his workload right now. Asked about his minutes totals after Game 5, Brunson shrugged it off.

“All-out,” Brunson said. “No time to pace yourself anymore.”

It’s surely music to Tom Thibodeau’s ears — the Knicks coach is known for playing his best players heavy minutes. 

In fact, as of Tuesday morning, the Knicks were crediting their heavy regular-season minutes for their ability to outlast the Sixers (to that point) in this series.

“It’s always funny because you see especially now during the playoffs, everybody is playing 40 minutes. Some people can’t do it,” Josh Hart told reporters (via Stefan Bondy of The New York Post). “Some people go from 34 to 41 and they don’t have the energy. It’s something we’ve had to deal with throughout the whole season.”

Brunson echoed Hart’s point.

“I think everyone on the outside talks about our workload and what we’re doing and how we’re not gonna make it and stuff like that,” Brunson told reporters. “I mean, I guess scientifically sometimes some of that can be true, but I think from a mental standpoint, if we understand where our bodies are at, if we understand what it takes, it’s gonna put us in position to be successful in the long run.”

The Knicks are short-handed heading into Game 6 in Philadelphia, with the team announcing on Tuesday that forward Bojan Bogdanovic is undergoing season-ending surgery on his ankle.

For Game 5, that meant Thibodeau went with just a seven-man rotation.

He could certainly expand it to give his starters a breather, but it doesn’t sound like Brunson and company are expecting it.

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