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Jalen Brunson lifts Knicks to dramatic Game 1 win over Pacers

NEW YORK — The New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers have intense playoff history, and if Game 1 of the latest chapter is any indication, this series has a good chance to live up to that rich past.

The Knicks overcame a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Pacers, 121-117, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday night before another raucous and rollicking Madison Square Garden crowd.

Donte DiVincenzo drained a huge three-pointer with 40.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that put the Knicks up by three and they hung on from there.

Nothing about the Knicks’ Game 1 came easily, but they again relied on grit and tenacity to pull out the victory.

They had a poor second quarter, getting outscored 31-22 by the Pacers in the period.

And that would’ve been worse had Isaiah Hartenstein not made a buzzer-beating three-pointer from beyond halfcourt as the final seconds of the first half expired. Hartenstein’s heave sliced the Knicks’ deficit to six points at the break.

The Knicks looked like they were taking control midway through the third quarter, but the Pacers reeled off a 10-0 run to go up by five to get a five-point lead of their own.

Indiana later took a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Knicks climbed back, cutting it to one on a three-pointer from the left wing by DiVincenzo.

Jalen Brunson later drained a pair of free throws to tie it at 109 with 3:29 remaining in the fourth quarter before OG Anunoby got a steal and a fast-break dunk to push the Knicks ahead by two.

Along with DiVincenzo’s three, the Knicks made key shots late to stay ahead.

After a tight series with the Sixers in the first round, the Knicks had yet another tight game with the Pacers.

They came out on top in Game 1.

TAKEAWAYS

Jalen Brunson hits 40 points … again

The Knicks star guard finished with 43 points on 14-of-26 shooting (1-of-4 from long distance) with six rebounds and six assists.

It was Brunson’s fourth consecutive 40-point game.

He again was serenaded with ‘MVP!’ chants throughout the night.

Josh Hart’s all-around game

Hart was fantastic for the Knicks to do a little bit of everything.

He finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Hart made a tough layup and drew the foul. He missed the free throw, but managed to grab the rebound and got the put-back to cut the Knicks’ deficit to one point.

Tyrese Haliburton not much of offensive factor for Pacers

This was a close game despite Haliburton not providing much scoring for Indiana.

Haliburton finished with 6 points on 2-of-6 shooting. He also had two rebounds, eight assists and four steals.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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