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NBA Playoffs 2024: Knicks bounce back to crush Pacers, Jokic and Nuggets on a roll

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Jalen Brunson was back to his best on Tuesday as the New York Knicks dominated the Indiana Pacers 121-91 to take a 3-2 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal Game 5.

A win on Friday night in Indianapolis will see the Knicks advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 24 years.

After losing Game 4 by 32 points, it was an emphatic response from the Knicks, with Brunson piling up 44 points with seven assists and four rebounds.

The Knicks destroyed Indiana on the boards, with Isaiah Hartenstein leading the way with 17 rebounds (12 offensive) while Josh Hart had 11 rebounds (nine defensive).

Brunson’s impact had been limited in the past two games in the series, with concerns that his heavy workload and a foot injury may have slowed him down.

But there were no signs of fatigue as he reached the 40 mark for the fifth time this post-season.

Brunson, who had only 18 points in Sunday’s loss, shot 18 for 35 and put up 28 points in the first half — a playoff record for the Knicks.

It was his seven straight points, including a three-pointer to open up a 20-point lead at 106-86, that made sure of the victory.

Pascal Siakam led Indiana with 22 points.

Jokic guides Nuggets to 3-2 series lead

In the West, the Denver Nuggets made it three straight wins in their semifinal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, with Nikola Jokic leading the defending champions with 40 points.

Having trailed 2-0 in the series, Denver are now just one win away from a return to the Western Conference finals.

Jokic was presented with his Most Valuable Player of the year award — the third of his career — before the game, then quickly provided another reminder of his value.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) controls the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (1) guards in the third quarter during game five of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs.
| Photo Credit:
ISAIAH J. DOWNING/ Reuters

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Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) controls the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson (1) guards in the third quarter during game five of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs.
| Photo Credit:
ISAIAH J. DOWNING/ Reuters

Denver led 50-44 at halftime, with Jokic scoring 19 of their points. Then, after the Wolves went on an 11-3 run early in the third quarter, Jokic scored another 16 to extend the Nuggets’ lead to 88-74.

Denver were able to keep Anthony Edwards quiet, with the Timberwolves star limited to 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting.

The 22-year-old had scored 44 points in Sunday’s Game Four loss.

But after the shock of losing the opening two games of the series, Jokic knows a tough test awaits on Thursday in Minnesota.

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