On an evening when the New York Knicks faced a team whose starting line-up featured three of the best scorers in the NBA today, it was their starting point guard who stole the show and lit up the scoreboard.
Jalen Brunson was seemingly unconscious in the second half of the Knicks’ match against the Phoenix Suns as he hit shot after shot to finish with a career-high 50 points. Brunson’s special night was not an ordinary 50-point game though as he wound up setting a few records that made his performance even more memorable.
In addition to scoring 50 points on an already impressive 17-of-23 field goal shooting, the 27-year-old point guard became the only player in NBA history to score that many points and not miss a three-pointer as he hit all nine of his attempts.
Brunson also had six rebounds, nine assists, and five steals which put him in another category all by himself as the only player to ever record at least 50 points, five three-pointers, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals in one game.
The only other player to have a similar statline was Michael Jordan who matched Brunson in every category aside from three-pointers.
While Brunson may not be able to have a historic game of this magnitude ever again, his career night is actually not so surprising when considering how exceptional he has been since he signed with New York back in the 2022 offseason.
The Knicks have thrived since his arrival and even entered the second round of the postseason earlier this calendar year for the first time since 2013. They have yet to take a leap into the upper echelon of the East this season, but they are chugging along as a second tier team in the conference which is already a major improvement in itself compared with many of their disastrous campaigns in this millenium.
New York is currently fifth in the East with a 14-10 record and just like last year, Brunson is a major reason for this relative success. It is safe to say that even the Knicks’ front office might not have expected Brunson to be this good for them and a debut NBA All-Star game appearance this coming February only becomes more likely with performances like the one that he just had.
Moving forward, it makes sense for New York to focus on building around Brunson rather than their two-time NBA All-Star forward Julius Randle given the way the league has been trending in recent years. The presence of a superb lead guard such as Brunson is quintessential for success nowadays while undersized forwards such as Randle are no longer in vogue.
In the meantime though, these gritty Knicks are quite an entertaining team to watch on a nightly basis and many will be closely watching how far they go this season. Another second round appearance may buy them more time as a group, but anything less may lead to a revamp come the offseason.
The one thing that is for sure though is that Brunson has brought life back to this meandering franchise and even just a few more months of extraordinary play like this would be enough to cement his status as a legend for New York which is still one of the toughest cities to play basketball in around the whole world.