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Jalen Brunson’s career night leads Knicks over Spurs

Jan 4, 2023; New York, New York, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Stanley Johnson (34) drives to the basket against New York Knicks center Jericho Sims (45) and guard Evan Fournier (13) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Brunson scored a career-high 38 points Wednesday night while hitting the layup that put the host New York Knicks ahead for good with 3:02 left in the fourth quarter of a 117-114 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Brunson, who previously scored 34 points in a game, also had seven rebounds and six assists for the Knicks, who squandered all of a 12-point second-half lead before earning their third straight win. Julius Randle (25 points, 13 rebounds) posted a double-double, while Immanuel Quickley scored 15 points and Quentin Grimes added 14 points before delivering a stop on the Spurs’ last possession.

Keldon Johnson scored 26 points for the Spurs, who have lost two straight and eight of 11. Reserves Josh Richardson (20 points), Zach Collins (16) and Doug McDermott (15) all scored in double figures for San Antonio, as did Tre Jones, who scored 14 points.

The Knicks led by as many as 13 in the first before the Spurs scored 13 unanswered points at the end of a 15-2 run opening the second quarter to take a 44-41 lead. The teams were tied three times before Randle and Brunson teamed up on a 7-0 run to give the Knicks a 62-55 halftime lead.

The Knicks led 75-63 early in the third and by as many as nine in the first two minutes of the fourth before the Spurs inched back. A pair of free throws by Jones capped a 10-2 run and gave San Antonio its first lead of the second half at 109-107 with 4:21 remaining,

Grimes responded with a 3-pointer and the teams combined for three misses before Johnson’s jumper put the Spurs back ahead 111-110. Brunson hit his go-ahead basket on the next possession, after which the teams went scoreless for more than a minute before Brunson hit another jumper following Randle’s jump-ball victory against Jones.

A pair of free throws by Johnson cut the Knicks’ lead to 116-114 with 29.7 seconds remaining. A double-teamed Randle was forced into an air ball as the shot clock expired on the next possession, but Jeremy Sochan was whistled for a five-second violation when he didn’t get the ball in on the subsequent in-bounds.

After a timeout, Johnson inbounded the ball to Jones, who passed back to Johnson, who began going up just before the buzzer as Grimes got a hand in his face. Johnson put the ball down and dribbled once as time expired before hoisting a shot that was short of the rim.

–Field Level Media