Just five days after scoring a then-career-high 38 points against the San Antonio Spurs, Jalen Brunson topped that with 44 points on Monday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. However, his scoring outburst was not enough, as the Knicks blew a 17-point lead and lost the game, 111-107.
New York was outscored, 38-29, in the fourth quarter, which snapped their four-game winning streak. After the game, Brunson spoke to reporters and expressed his disappointment in the brutal loss.
"I saw a championship team just kind of just grind us down, chipping away," Brunson said. "Yeah, we didn't hold up enough resistance to keep that lead so just got to give them credit. We got to be better, but gotta give them credit as well."
Despite the new career-high in scoring, Brunson said he and the rest of the team "could have played better" to earn the victory.
"Yeah, obviously we all could have played a lot better," Brunson said. "I think individually for me, a couple plays in the fourth quarter that were just terrible. I had the turnover on the pass to Obi (Toppin) and then I had the turnover on the next possession dribbling into Jrue (Holiday). And then took a bad shot over Jrue on the right baseline, and then I think before that just shot a terrible pull-up three on a pick and roll.
"Those are four possessions I wish I could've had back. We got to continue to grind to get better. We gotta learn from this, I gotta learn from this. I gotta treat possessions like they mean the world to me. I can't just have those mistakes."
Brunson went on to say that his 44-point performance "doesn't really matter" because the team lost and he knows he could have done more to help win the game.
"It wasn't enough, so it doesn't really matter to me," Brunson said. "Just the way that everything played out. I just knew I could've been better, could've been more efficient, so that's how I'm looking at it."
Brunson scored 18 of his 44 points in the first quarter and did all he could to carry the team while Julius Randle was struggling shooting the ball. Randle wound up with 25 points and 16 rebounds, but was 9-for-29 from the field and 1-for-12 from three-point range. Randle said after the loss that he isn't concerned his shooting woes will continue into the next game.
"I still shot them so, it's a miss or make league," Randle said. "The same shots in practice I put thousands and thousands of hours in so I'm not really worried about it. They'll go in next game."
The Knicks shot just 38 percent as a team and 26.8 percent (11-for-41) from three. They'll look to get back on track Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers (23-18), who have gone 8-2 since they lost to the Knicks at home on Dec. 18.