Jalen Brunson becomes 4th NBA player to score 39+ in 4 straight playoff games

Jalen Brunson has revitalized basketball in New York City, and Thursday night saw the Knicks guard add to his already massive legacy in Game 6 of his team’s Round 1 series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

After playing 51 minutes in an overtime loss to the Sixers in Game 4, Brunson entered Game 5 determined to close out the series. He finished Thursday night with 41 points and 12 assists, leading the Knicks to a 118-115 win and eliminating the Sixers from the postseason in front of a stunned Philly crowd.

Brunson is the seventh player in NBA history to score 40-plus in three straight playoff games and the fourth ever to have 39+ in four straight. Here’s a look at the other three who accomplished the same feat.

Michael Jordan (1990, 1993)

The only player to score 39+ in four straight on multiple occasions, Michael Jordan did so the first time in the 1990 playoffs.

Playing the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Jordan scored 39 in Game 1 and occasions 45, 47 and 45 in Games 2-4. The Bulls went on to win the series, 4-1, but they fell to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Jordan won his first two NBA championships in 1991 and 1992, and he helped Chicago win its third straight in 1993 with arguably the greatest stretch of his storied career.

Playing against the Suns in that year’s Finals, Jordan scored at least 41 points in Games 2-5, including a 55-point outburst in Game 4. Jordan is the only player in league history with multiple 55-point games in the playoffs. He hit the mark on five occasions — including when he scored an NBA postseason record 63 against the Celtics in first round of the 1986 playoffs.

Jordan is the NBA’s all-time leader in playoff points per game (33.4). Perhaps most impressive is that he did all this while averaging just one 3-point make per game from 1990-1993.

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Bernard King (1984)

While Brunson’s performance in the first round was prolific, it wasn’t the first time a Knicks player has had 39 in four straight playoff games.

New York great Bernard King became the franchise’s first player to do so back in 1984 while playing against the Detroit Pistons in Round 1. After scoring 36 in Game 1, King totaled 46, 46, 44 and 41 in Games 2-5 to give the Knicks the series win.

King, a 6-foot-7 small forward, led New York to the Eastern Conference Semifinals before the Knicks fell in seven games to the Boston Celtics. King was the league’s top scorer (32.9 ppg) in 1984-85 but he missed all but six games over the next two seasons with a knee injury.

The Knicks cut King in 1987, and he went on to play the next four years with the Washington Bullets. He was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Jerry West (1965)

Perhaps best known now for his silhouette, Jerry “the logo” West was one of the NBA’s best players during the 1960s and led the Los Angeles Lakers to 12 postseason appearances in 13 years from 1961-1974.

West actually owns the NBA record for most consecutive 40-point playoff games with six, a feat he accomplished to open up the 1965 postseason. Playing against the Baltimore Bullets in the first round, the Lakers won the series in six games and West had at least 40 points in each contest. His best performance came in Game 2 — when he had 52 points to go with five rebounds and nine assists.

The Lakers ended up losing to the Boston Celtics in the 1965 Finals despite West scoring at least 40 on two other occasions. The 6-foot-3 guard helped Los Angeles make five Finals appearances between 1965-1970, but he didn’t win his first title until 1972 when he was well into his 30s.

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West was first named to the HOF as a player in 1980 and was inducted again in 2024 for his other contributions to the game as an ambassador and executive.

West won eight titles as an executive, six with the Lakers from 1980-2000 and two more with the Warriors in 2015 and 2017.

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