Advertisement

Jalen Brunson eliminated in first round of 3-Point Contest, Damian Lillard repeats as champion

He fell one short.

Jalen Brunson’s start to his first career NBA All-Star Weekend ended one made three shy of advancing to the second round.

He finished with a final score of 24 points but needed 26 to avoid an early elimination.

His final missed shot was a money ball worth two points instead of one.

And the Knicks’ star was done-in by a flurry of missed threes both to start and end his Three-Point Contest debut.

He missed four of his first five attempts from the left corner, and after he made seven threes in a row — totaling 11 threes made in a 13-attempt span — he missed his final three shots from the right corner.

A tough way to go for a 41.1% shooter from three-point range this season.

Brunson, however, doesn’t need any hardware to validate his three-point prowess. He has already made 139 threes through 52 regular-season games this season.

That’s five more than he made all of last season with the Knicks, toting back-to-back career-best efficiency seasons from downtown since he signed in New York as a free agent two summer ago.

In fact, Brunson has tallied 273 made threes since joining the Knicks.

That’s only 11 threes shy of his final tally of threes made over four seasons in Dallas.

And even though he entered All-Star Weekend teetering from downtown — he is shooting 31.4% from three in the month of February having made just 11 of his last 35 attempts — Brunson is on pace to eclipse that 273 mark by March.

He is averaging a career-best 27.6 points and 6.5 assists on 48.3% shooting from the field. Brunson was nearly voted an All-Star starter, but lost to Bucks star Damian Lillard by more than 700,000 fan votes.

Brunson ultimately lost the Three-Point Contest to Lillard, too.

The first round of the Three-Point Contest finished in a four-way tie between Lillard, the reigning champion; Minnesota’s stretch-four Karl-Anthony Towns; Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton and Atlanta’s Trae Young.

The four stars finished the first round with 26 points each, but Haliburton — hometown hero playing for the Indiana Pacers — was eliminated in the tiebreaker round.

Lillard caught fire late to repeat as Three-Point Champion. He became the first player to repeat as a three-point champ since Jason Kapono in 2007-08.

He is one of just two representatives for the Knicks at All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis. Knicks two-way forward Jacob Toppin represented the organization in Saturday’s Slam Dunk Contest.

NBA coaches also voted Julius Randle an All-Star reserve, but Randle, who dislocated his right shoulder at the conclusion of a Jan. 27 matchup against the Miami Heat, was unable to participate.

Brunson will also participate in Sunday’s All-Star Game as an Eastern Conference reserve.

And after competing in his first Three-Point Contest, the Knicks star has now gotten his toes wet in All-Star Weekend festivities.

Given his rapid ascent into stardom, Brunson will assuredly be back, representing the Knicks during the mid-February break in the future.

Next time, he’ll know what to expect when he steps onto the floor, if he decides to compete in the Three-Point Contest again.