‘$104M Bargain’ Jalen Brunson Praised as Knicks Top Donovan Mitchell, Cavs in Game 1

‘$104M Bargain’ Jalen Brunson Praised as Knicks Top Donovan Mitchell, Cavs in Game 1

Erin WalshApril 16, 2023

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 15: Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks handles the ball during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2023 Round 1 Game 1 NBA Playoffs on April 15, 2023 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban probably wishes he had re-signed Jalen Brunson last summer instead of letting him exit in free agency.

While Dallas is watching the 2023 NBA playoffs from the couch, the former Maverick put together a scintillating performance in Game 1 of the New York Knicks’ first-round matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, leading his team to an 101-97 victory for a 1-0 series lead.

Brunson notched 27 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win. He scored 21 points in the second half after accumulating three fouls and playing just nine minutes in the first half.

This type of big-time performance is exactly what the Knicks were expecting from Brunson when they signed him to a four-year, $104 million deal last summer. That contract now feels like a bargain, and NBA Twitter knows it:

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

Jalen Brunson is a $104 million bargain.

Mike Vorkunov @MikeVorkunov

Jalen Brunson, man. He’s so good.

Joshua Welge @jwelge96

I could watch Jalen Brunson ball against Donovan Mitchell all night.

Rod @rodimusprime

Jalen Brunson is as advertised and I won’t hear anything different. He’s a gamer.

Jason Shepherd @jsnshep

Jalen Brunson is a cold-blooded baller.

Sean Barnard @Sean_Barnard1

Jalen Brunson is an incredibly unique player and awesome to watch play

Just a master at maneuvering to his spots on the floor and using his body to his advantage

Connor Finnegan @ConnorFinnegan

Cuban is never gonna live down the Brunson thing

Clem @TheClemReport


Tate Frazier @tatefrazier

Brunson’s basketball IQ is off the charts

Skip Bayless @RealSkipBayless

Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart have given the Knicks what they have long missed – some late-game, big-game Nova toughness. What a Game 1 statement win at Cleveland. Enjoy, Spike.

Michael McGarry @ACPressMcGarry

The Knicks underpaid for Brunson – the guy is a pure winner

Aside from Brunson, Julius Randle finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals in his first game since March 29. He had been sidelined with an ankle sprain and missed the final games of the regular season.

Josh Hart was also impressive off the bench, notching 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one steal.

Donovan Mitchell led the Cavs with 38 points, five rebounds, eight assists, three steals and one block.

Saturday’s victory was New York’s first Game 1 road victory in 24 years, and they’ll look to keep that momentum going in Game 2 on Tuesday.

The Cavaliers are expected to put up a better fight in Game 2, but to do that they’re going to have to find a way to better contain Brunson, who was nearly unstoppable on Saturday night.

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