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Knicks’ Jalen Brunson credits 76ers’ game plan after off night

Vaseline 4 weeks ago

Josh Hart was surprised to hear about Jalen Brunson’s ugly shooting numbers.

“Damn it,” he said.

Brunson failed on 18 of his 26 attempts in the Knicks’ Game 1 victory, which was encouraging because they won, but concerning because capturing a series with that kind of production isn’t feasible.

Jalen Brunson, who scored 22 points, looks to make a move on Tyrese Maxey during the Knicks’ 111-104 Game 1 win over the 76ers. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Brunson gave most of the credit to Philadelphia’s plan, which focused on thwarting Brunson and daring his teammates to shoot.

“They were a great defense and they had a great game plan,” Brunson said. “I have to go back to the drawing board and get better. But I think the one thing I kept doing: I just kept turning the page, turning the page, knowing that everything would be better. I need short-term memory when things like that happen. Honestly, you just have to give them a lot of credit.

“I think I had moments where I was good,” added Brunson, who finished with 22 points and seven assists. “Five turnovers, obviously missed a lot of shots. … (They) just threw bodies, which clogged the paint, which made everything difficult. I have to give them a lot of credit. I have to be better.”

Sixers coach Nick Nurse said he was “pretty pleased” with the defense against Brunson and was fine with the shots his team allowed.

Hart, who struggled from deep all season, buried four treys.

Miles McBride knocked down five.

Jalen Brunson appears to get around Kyle Lowry during the Knicks’ win. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“We were in a zone a lot of the time. But our zone is shifting – it’s clear you’re trying to guard certain guys,” the nurse said. ‘Give them credit. I think we probably agree with some of those shots, but they hit them. Give them credit for stepping in and beating them.”

Paul Reed, who stoked the fire before the game by saying the Knicks were a favored opponent, was on the court for just 11 minutes as a backup center, and the Sixers had a 21 lead in that stretch.

The Sixers bench was largely terrible. Buddy Hield, the trade deadline acquisition, was scoreless after two shots.

The Knicks provide information on the referees – the good, the bad, the quick whistles and their tendencies with New York.

In a new wrinkle to the game notes for the media, the Knicks added a “referees overview” of the team for Saturday’s game.

The sheet is compiled by the analytics staff and includes an official’s number of total foul calls compared to his/her number of calls against the Knicks.

For example, the figures for Scott Foster lived up to his reputation as a go-getter.

According to the Knicks’ analytics staff, NBA referee Scott Foster is known as a proponent of foul calls. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Foster, the crew chief for Saturday’s match, scored ‘very high’ overall in the following categories: foul decisions, personal fouls, restricted area fouls, attacking fouls and dribbling fouls.

He was 99th percentile in bad decisions.

Nevertheless, Foster rated his success rate as ‘low’ – a sign that he had whistled correctly, even if very often.

Over the past five years, Foster had called more fouls against the Knicks per game (15.6) than his average (14.9).

It was exactly the opposite for the other referees in the match on Saturday. Brian Forte, who rated his foul count as “average,” whistled the Knicks for fewer fouls than his per-game average over the past five years.

On Saturday, the Knicks were whistled for 18 fouls (about their season average), while the Sixers were called for 21 (one above their average). The Knicks successfully challenged two calls.