Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau


Tom Thibodeau reacts during Game 6 against the Philadelphia 76ers on May 2.

For a second consecutive season, the New York Knicks are going to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, after winning four of six games over Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.

After an absolute dogfight of a first-round series, Jalen Brunson and the team will take on the storied rival Indiana Pacers.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s message to the team after eliminating the 76ers was a simple one.

“I told em, ‘enjoy it till midnight,’” Thibodeau told reporters postgame. “I guess we’re already past midnight, so we’re thinking about what we have to do next.”

Brunson finished the night with 41 points and 12 assists, his third-straight game with 40 or more points.

After a tough first two games, he’s found his footing and his shot.

It was a statement win for the Knicks, on the road at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia with a chance to go back to Madison Square Garden for a Game 7.

They delivered. And now they’ll look to do the same against the Pacers in Game 1 on May 5.

Jalen Brunson Keeps Promise to Fans

Over the first two games, Jalen Brunson connected on just 16-of-55 field goals, good for 29-percent shooting.

Free throw makes helped his scoring average to 23 points per game, but Brunson had not been the player that terrorized the league all season. Philadelphia’s defense had stifled New York’s one-man offense.

When asked about adjusting to the 76ers’ coverage ahead of Game 3, Brunson told Ian Begley of SNY that the answer is a simple one.

“The easy answer is I need to adjust and…be more poised; understand what they’re doing & flat-out be better,” Brunson told SNY on April 23. There’s no gimmicks to it. “It’s just, ‘Jalen you need to be better.’ It’s that plain & simple.”

He followed up by posting three 40-point games in the series’ final four, helping the Knicks to a 6-game series’ win.

Brunson finished Games 3 through 6 averaging 41.7 points per game on 49-percent shooting, making history along the way.

According to “First Things First” host Nick Wright, New York’s point guard became just the fifth player in NBA history to average 40 or more points over any four-game span in the postseason.

Jalen Brunson just became the 5th player in NBA playoff history, joining Westbrook, LeBron, Kareem & Giannis, to average a 40 point double-double over any 4 game stretch.

Truly historic tear he’s been on this past week.

Brunson joins Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook in the historic rank.

And that’s not all.

Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweets that Brunson is the first player since Michael Jordan to post 39 or more points in four consecutive playoff games.

It was an incredible performance in an absolute dogfight of a series for Jalen Brunson and the New York Knicks.

But he had some help from his college teammates in closing out the 76ers.

Donte DiVincenzo, Josh Hart Shine in Game 6

Not enough can be said of Jalen Brunson’s supporting cast in Game 6.

Donte DiVincenzo shined at last, after averaging 9.8 points on a 33/30/89 shooting split in Games 1 through 5.

In the elimination win, he finished with 23 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals in a full 48 minutes played.

Then there’s Josh Hart, who’s three-point shooting in the playoffs continue to be an anomaly.

He finished Game 6 with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists in 46 minutes played.

Hart made 3-of-5 threes, including a 27-foot bomb to give New York the lead with 25.6 seconds remaining.

Josh Hart’s CLUTCH go-ahead 3 to send the Knicks to the next round

In the regular season, the Knicks starter connected on 80 of 258 attempts from deep, a 31-percent shooting average.

In the playoffs, he’s made 16 of 37. That’s a 43-percent shooting average.

Everyone’s stepping up for the New York Knicks.

They’ll have to continue to do so with another best of seven series against the Indiana Pacers on deck.

Collin Loring covers the NBA and MLB for, where he has been a contributor since 2021. His sports coverage has also been featured at FanSided, Elite Sports NY and The Strickland. More about Collin Loring

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