NBA playoffs: Jalen Brunson dominates Pacers again to put Knicks on verge of conference finals

Jalen Brunson has done it again, and the New York Knicks are on the brink of the Eastern Conference finals.

Brunson put on another scoring clinic at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night to lead the Knicks to a 121-91 win over the Indiana Pacers. The win secured a 3-2 series lead and put the Knicks a win away from their first conference finals appearance since 2000.

The Knicks turned up the heat with a 38-32 advantage in the first quarter and never looked back. Brunson scored seemingly at will en route to 28 first-half points.

He finished the game 44 points, seven assists and four rebounds. He shot 18 of 35 from the field and 2 of 6 from 3.

Brunson repeatedly turns back Pacers runs

New York was dominant with Brunson on the floor. When he rested in the second quarter, the Pacers cut their 54-40 deficit to 56-47. When he returned, the Knicks went on an 9-0 run to extend the lead back to 65-47, prompting a Pacers timeout. The Knicks went into halftime with a 69-54 lead and a chance to run away with the game early in third quarter.

Instead, Pacers Myles Turner opened the second half Indiana scoring with three unanswered 3-pointers to cut the New York lead to 70-63. It just delayed the inevitable.

Brunson scored his first bucket on the half on a 3 with 6:36 remaining as New York extended its lead to 80-64. A Donte DiVincenzo putback slam extended the lead again to 86-64 for the Knicks' largest advantage the series.

The Pacers had one last gasp and cut their lead again, this time to 12 points in the fourth quarter. But Brunson answered one more time.

He responded with seven straight points in a 9-0 Knicks run to once again thwart a Pacers comeback effort. His 40th point arrived on an acrobatic scoop at the rim as four Pacers defenders converged on him.

After that, the Pacers were out of runs. The MSG crowd — sniffing New York's first conference finals since Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson — serenaded Brunson with an MVP chant.

With New York leading, 114-90, Pacers coach Rick Carlisle waived the white flag and emptied the Indiana bench. Brunson took his own well-deserved rest on the bench.

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