Brunson carries Knicks into No. 2 seed in Eastern Conference, scores 40 points in OT win over Bulls

Jalen Brunson Knicks Bulls
New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) dribbles around Chicago Bulls forward Torrey Craig (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 14, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/John Munson)

NEW YORK (AP) — Jalen Brunson capped one of the best regular seasons in franchise history with his 11th 40-point game, carrying the New York Knicks into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 120-119 overtime victory over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

The Knicks finished 50-32, their best season since going 54-28 and also earning a No. 2 seed in 2012-13. They moved past Milwaukee after the Bucks lost earlier Sunday in Orlando, and will await the winner of the play-in game between Philadelphia and Miami on Wednesday.

Brunson finished with 40 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, and tied Patrick Ewing for the second-most 40-point games in one season by a Knicks player. Hall of Famer Bernard King did it 13 times in 1984-85, when he set a franchise record with 32.9 points per game.

Brunson finished up at 28.7, tying Carmelo Anthony for third.

Donte DiVincenzo added 25 points for the Knicks.

DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points for the Bulls, but one of the NBA’s best clutch finishers missed a short jumper with 2.8 seconds remaining in OT. Nic Vucevic added 29 points and 11 rebounds, and Coby White scored 26 points.

Chicago finished ninth in the East at 39-43 and will host No. 10 Atlanta on Wednesday. If they win that, the Bulls will have to beat the winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 game on the road Friday to earn the No. 8 seed in the playoffs.

Despite having one of the only playoff scenarios that was determined going into the final day of the regular season, the Bulls opted to play their healthy players throughout the game. Coach Billy Donovan said Ayo Dosunmu (bruised right quadricep) and Andre Drummond (sprained left ankle) were both still feeling pain and discomfort and was unsure if either would be ready for Wednesday’s win-or-out game.

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