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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:
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.