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Jalen Brunson Defends Knicks Rival



Jalen Brunson Defends Knicks Rival

New York Knicks All-Star Jalen Brunson is kicking asterisks off the Boston Celtics’ recent championship run.

The beloved Manhattanite came to the defense of one of the Knicks’ biggest rivals, who hoisted what some believe is a tainted Larry O’Brien Trophy: Boston embarked on a dominant 16-3 run to secure a record 18th title but some have questioned its legitimacy with the depleted victims in mind.

Don’t count Brunson among them.

“I think Boston is going to be remembered by non-basketball people, like non-players, about this run, like, ‘Oh, they didn’t play so and so because they were hurt,’” Brunson said in the most recent episode of his “Roommates Show” web series (h/t Kayla Gregoire of NESN). “But I think the people in the basketball world understand that, no, they walked through every challenge they had to do, and things fell in their favor, it’s as simple as that.”

Ranked at the top after a 64-win season, Boston tore through the Eastern Conference portion of the NBA bracket, ousting the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers in five games in the opening rounds before sweeping the Indiana Pacers out of the Eastern Conference Finals. Each series lacked vital opposing participation, as Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell, and Tyrese Haliburton all missed significant time with injuries.

Undeterred, Boston capped off its championship run with a five-game shellacking of the Dallas Mavericks, capping things off with a 106-88 victory in front of home fans at TD Garden.

Had the Knicks gotten past the Pacers to set up a conference finals match with the Celtics, Boston critics would’ve had plenty of material to work with: the Knicks literally limped to the end of the conference semifinal set, as Brunson, Josh Hart, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and more had all been lost to various ailments.

New York has begun to stock up for a battle with the Celtics by trading for Mikal Bridges and re-signing OG Anunoby in the early portions of this offseason. New York earned a convincing victory in the one meeting that featured Anunoby’s participation this past season, a 118-109 win at TD Garden on April 11 that featured the Knicks’ lead ballooning to 31.

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