Heat have nothing but praise for Knicks’ Jalen Brunson

MIAMI — The Jalen Brunson admiration society extended to the opposing locker room following his 48-minute masterpiece in Game 5 against the Heat on Wednesday.

Brunson and Quentin Grimes played every second of the Knicks’ season-extending victory at the Garden, with their starting point guard scoring a game-high 38 points to propel his team to its next chance to avoid elimination in Game 6 on Friday night in South Florida.

“He has a great competitive will,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game about Brunson. “So, he’s going to continue to attack, he’s going to try to manipulate the defense. He’s aggressive, he’s physical, but he also knows how to draw fouls.

“He’s clever, so he has that combination. So be it, you have to respect him as a competitor and then find a way to get the job done.”

Brunson and Grimes became the first pair of Knicks to play 48 minutes apiece in a regulation postseason game since Walt Frazier and Jerry Lucas went the distance against the Celtics in 1972.

The 26-year-old Brunson also registered nine rebounds and seven assists in Game 5 to become the first player in Knicks history to score at least 38 points with that many boards and assists in one postseason game.

Jalen Brunson dribbles away from Bam Adebayo (left) and Gabe Vincent during the Knicks' Game 4 loss in Miami.
Jalen Brunson dribbles away from Bam Adebayo (left) and Gabe Vincent during the Knicks’ Game 4 loss in Miami.
Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

“He’s talented; there’s great talent that kid has there,” veteran Heat guard Kyle Lowry said. “The man has played 45 minutes and 48 minutes in the last couple of games, so you got to give him credit. He’s just being aggressive and continuing to attack.”

All-Star center Bam Adebayo didn’t think the Heat did enough defensively to contest Brunson’s looks at the basket inside and outside the 3-point arc. Brunson finished 12-for-22 from the floor, 4-for-10 from long distance and 10-for-12 from the free-throw line for a .545/.400/.833 slash line.

“He’s crafty, that’s one thing about him. Our job is for him to make difficult shots and I feel like he got in a groove in his spots, and he was making his shots,” Adebayo said.

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“I think we had a chance to close out tonight. They didn’t let us,” Lowry added. “They played their butts off and we give them credit for how they played at home. We have to go home and do our job and protect home court.

“They did their job, they protected home court and we’ve got to respond on Friday.”

And if that means someone on the Heat playing the entire game, as Brunson and Grimes did?

“If [Spoelstra] tells me to play 48 minutes, I’ll be suited and booted and ready to do that,” said star forward Jimmy Butler, who missed Game 2 with an ankle injury. “And we’ll win.”

Brunson and the Knicks might have something to say about that.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
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