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Brunson scores 45 as Knicks cruise past Blazers, 105-93

Portland comes out flat on second night of back-to-back games

By ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer
Published: March 14, 2024, 9:40pm
5 Photos
New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, left, drives to the basket against Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 14, 2024.
New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, left, drives to the basket against Portland Trail Blazers guard Scoot Henderson, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes) Photo Gallery

PORTLAND — Jalen Brunson scored 45 points and the New York Knicks rolled past the Portland Trail Blazers, 105-93 on Thursday night.

Donte DiVincenzo and OG Anunoby had 12 points apiece for the Knicks, who have won four of their last six as they jockey for playoff position in the Eastern Conference with 16 games left in the season.

Brunson had his sixth game with 40 or more points this season.

“What can you say, it’s unbelievable just to watch it, and you know he ended up with 17 free throws and I thought there could be a lot more,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s just clever, he’s shifty and he does everything.”

Deandre Ayton had 31 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, playing the second of a back-to-back and the last of a six-game homestand. Portland beat the Atlanta Hawks 106-102 on Wednesday night.

The Knicks led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter. Portland got within 98-87 on a long jumper from Ayton with 3:54 left but the comeback bid stalled.

Brunson made 15 of his 17 free throws. The All-Star did a bit of everything, finishing with four assists, a steal and a block.

“I’ve just got to keep my mentality and my mind straight, and that’s the one thing I can control,” Brunson said.

Anfernee Simons, who led Portland with 36 points against the Hawks, was sidelined Thursday. Coach Chauncey Billups said Simons’ knee had bothered him for a while and after he played more than 40 minutes against the Hawks, the decision was made to keep him out.

Jerami Grant missed his second straight game for the Blazers because of a nagging right hamstring strain.

Anunoby played in his second straight game after returning from right elbow surgery on Tuesday for a 106-79 victory at home against Philadelphia. There was a scare when Anunoby grabbed his elbow during the first half and was later seen icing it on the bench. He returned to start the second half.

Before the game, Thibodeau offered condolences to the family of former Knicks player RJ Barrett for the death of younger brother Nathan. Barrett’s current team, the Toronto Raptors, announced Nathan’s death in a statement. Details were not known.

The Knicks had a 26-25 edge after the first quarter, then pulled away in the second on a 15-2 run capped by Isaiah Hartenstein’s jumper that made it 44-33. The Knicks outscored the Blazers 29-16 in the second quarter.

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New York went into the break ahead 55-41, led by Brunson with 21 points. When Brunson went to the line for free throws, some in the significant crowd of Knicks fans at the Moda Center shouted “MVP!”

The Knicks pushed the lead to as many as 20 points in the third quarter and went into the final period up 85-68.

“I thought we did a good job in the first quarter in matching their physicality, knowing how we were going to play. Thought we just had a good quarter,” Billups said. “Then we had a tough second quarter, couldn’t make a shot. Turnovers really hurt us.”

Ayton finished with his seventh straight double-double.


Blazers visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.



NEW YORK (105) — Anunoby 5-11 1-2 12, Hart 3-8 1-1 7, Hartenstein 4-6 1-1 9, Brunson 14-30 15-17 45, DiVincenzo 4-12 2-2 12, Achiuwa 2-3 0-0 4, Bogdanovic 1-6 3-3 5, Burks 2-5 0-0 5, McBride 3-6 0-0 6. Totals 38-87 23-26 105.

PORTLAND (93) — Camara 3-6 0-0 7, Murray 3-8 2-2 10, Ayton 12-21 6-6 31, Banton 6-20 2-2 16, Henderson 4-13 3-4 12, Minaya 1-3 1-2 4, Thybulle 2-6 0-0 5, Reath 0-2 0-0 0, Hagans 3-5 0-0 8. Totals 34-84 14-16 93.

New York 26 29 30 20—105

Portland 25 16 27 25— 93

3-Point Goals—New York 6-29 (DiVincenzo 2-8, Brunson 2-10, Burks 1-2, Anunoby 1-4, McBride 0-1, Bogdanovic 0-2, Hart 0-2), Portland 11-33 (Hagans 2-3, Murray 2-6, Banton 2-9, Ayton 1-1, Camara 1-3, Minaya 1-3, Henderson 1-4, Thybulle 1-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—New York 50 (Hart 15), Portland 45 (Ayton 14). Assists—New York 16 (Brunson 4), Portland 19 (Henderson 6). Total Fouls—New York 18, Portland 19. A—17,768 (19,393)