Jalen Brunson calls late misses in Knicks' loss 'very frustrating'




New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson celebrates against the Memphis Grizzlies during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden
New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson celebrates against the Memphis Grizzlies during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden  

With six seconds left and the Knicks down two, Jalen Brunson caught the inbound pass and faced up the basket from beyond the arc before splitting right through the Memphis Grizzlies defense. Brunson took off just inside the free throw line for a running one-hander.

For New York, that's just about everything you wanted when drawing up an out-of-bounds play: Getting the ball in the hands of your playmaker - who had scored 30 points already on Sunday night - and getting a good look at the basket to tie the game.

But Brunson's attempt hit the front of the rim before Memphis' Jaren Jackson Jr. corralled the rebound and sealed a 127-123 Grizzlies win.

"It's very frustrating," Brunson said after the game.

Brunson, who missed a pull-up jumper with 10 seconds left on the previous possession and New York down one, would finish 8-for-20 on the night. But going 0-for-2 in the game's final seconds was, unfortunately, the difference.

"Two shots that I've made a lot of in my career. And I just rushed 'em. Plain and simple, just rushed it," Brunson said.

"My teammates and coaches have a lot of trust in me and they've welcomed me with open arms," he added. "And that hurts when I can't pull through for them. That hurts." 

For Tom Thibodeau the process on Sunday was good, but the result didn't cooperate on this occasion.

"That's his bread and butter," Thibodeau said when asked about Brunson's final attempts. "Got to where he wanted to be, got a good shot up, we missed."

But, the Knicks' head coach said Brunson's confidence remains "great" and he doesn't appear to be concerned about the guard's mentality the next time a clutch shot needs to be taken.

"He's a tough guy," Thibodeau said. "He played hard, made a lot of big, clutch shots throughout the fourth quarter for us."

This was the second time this season the Knicks dropped a close game to Memphis, after a 115-112 overtime defeat on opening night. A game in which Brunson missed two shots with the game tied at 112 with under 90 seconds to play in overtime. Shots the guard remembers.

When asked about the close game in October during his postgame news conference, Brunson interrupted a reporter's question to say, "Twice I missed game-winners… That's what it is though, I'm just saying, twice I missed game winners."

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