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Knicks’ Jalen Brunson says hunting for a foul in closing seconds of Game 3 loss was a ‘terrible decision’

New York Knicks star Jalen Brunson said he made a “terrible decision” to take a flailing, off-balance 3-pointer in the closing seconds of his team’s 111-106 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series on Friday. 

Despite being even more shorthanded than usual due to OG Anunoby’s hamstring injury, the Knicks hung with the Pacers all game, and even had a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter. It didn’t take long for the Pacers to whittle that down, however, and most of the final frame was a one-possession game. 

With just under a minute to go, Pascal Siakam put the Pacers up by three, but Brunson answered with a step-back triple to tie things up at the 42-second mark. Then, Andrew Nembhard stunned everyone by draining a 30-foot heave to put the Pacers back up by three with 18 seconds to play. 

Coming out of a timeout, the Knicks gave Brunson the ball and he did not wait around. He took one dribble, pump faked, stepped through between Myles Turner and Aaron Nesmith and threw up a flailing, off-balance heave as he tried in vain to draw a foul. Neither the shot nor the attempt to deceive the refs was even close to being successful. 

“It’s a terrible decision and something I need to learn from,” Brunson said during his post-game press conference. “I knew the time, I knew everything that was going on, I just made a terrible decision.”

The Pacers got the rebound, and Nesmith made two free throws on the other end to ice the game. With the win, the Pacers narrowed the series deficit to 2-1 and got themselves right back in the series. 

While Brunson has been spectacular during the playoffs, he just didn’t have it in Game 3. The Pacers gave Nesmith the primary defensive assignment in this game, and his length and activity seemed to bother Brunson, who also appeared to tweak his sore foot in the first half. 

Though Brunson finished with 26 points, he shot 10-of-26 from the field and had five turnovers. The Knicks will need him back at his best on Sunday for Game 4 as they try to take a 3-1 lead. 

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