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Jalen Brunson, Knicks Ripped by NBA Twitter for Blowing Late Lead vs. Bulls

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 24, 2022

Chicago Bulls' DeMar DeRozan, third from right,, reacts after hitting the winning basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The New York Knicks were tied with or leading the Chicago Bulls for all but four-tenths of a second in the second half Friday.

However, that's all the Bulls needed as DeMar DeRozan knocked down the game-winning jumper in the final second to lead his team to a 118-117 road win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

DEMAR DEROZAN CALLS GAME 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/kzqHi69SOL">pic.twitter.com/kzqHi69SOL</a>

It was a devastating loss for the Knicks, who wasted a season-high 44 points from RJ Barrett and a 29-point, 12-rebound outing from Julius Randle. The Knicks have dropped to 18-15 with their second consecutive loss after an eight-game winning streak.

This was a tough offensive night for Jalen Brunson, who shot 5-of-15 en route to 12 points. He dished out nine assists but also missed three of his four free throws, including a pair with 6.1 seconds remaining while the Knicks were up 117-116. DeRozan played some mind games with the 89.1 percent free-throw shooter beforehand.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

DeRozan tried getting in Brunson's head to ice the game 🍿<br><br>Brunson went to the line with the Knicks up 117-116 and missed both FTs 😬 <a href="https://t.co/tkPv7x9lSK">pic.twitter.com/tkPv7x9lSK</a>

Regardless of whether that had an effect on Brunson, the Knicks didn't make enough stops or shots down the stretch to win.

Quentin Grimes also missed a pair of free throws when the Knicks were up 115-112 a minute earlier. He shot just 3-of-11 from the field and served as the primary defender on DeRozan on the last shot after a switch. Guarding DeRozan in the mid-range is tough for anyone, though, and the longtime NBA veteran got the job done.

Brunson and Grimes have both played pivotal roles in helping the Knicks turn their season around after a sluggish 10-13 start, with the former arguably serving as the team's MVP this year after signing as a free agent from the Dallas Mavericks.

Still, this was a tough loss to stomach. NBA Twitter took notice, with some fans lamenting the loss and Brunson's late-game performance and others looking at the bigger picture.

kap @hopefulmetsfan

Jalen Brunson shocked me tonight. He crumbled under pressure. That better be an anomaly

Knicky B. from Harlem @KnickyFrmHarlem

Jalen Brunson has cost us about 3 or 4 games this year with poor late game execution but Knicks fans not ready for that conversation

Petty White @ArcangeIo

I'll give Jalen Brunson a pass tonight if only for the fact that he has singlehandedly won us games in crunch time this year.<br><br>But damn bro you have to make those free throws...have to.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Knicks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Knicks</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NewYorkForever?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NewYorkForever</a>

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer

Checking in on Knicks fans <a href="https://t.co/rh16stxdY7">pic.twitter.com/rh16stxdY7</a>

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer

Did the refs miss calls? Yes.<br><br>But the Knicks missed FT's were what cost them that game.

real law @real_law_4H

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Knicks?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Knicks</a> fans turning on Brunson already, they turn on any1 that's not a draft pick of theirs then wonder why no star wants to play for them. If I was a NBA star I'd love to come here sparingly, drop 40-50 +win, just to stick it to the most toxic NBA fan base. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/antiknickstwitter?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#antiknickstwitter</a>

Perry Gabriele @PerryGabriele

Knicks handed the bulls that game, disgusting late game execution, 11 missed freethrows, 4 consecutive missed freethrows with under a minute to go, a missed defensive rebound with seconds to go that lead to a layup. They lost this game 3 times. 18-15 got to win on Xmas

KnicksMuse @KnicksMuse

The Knicks are 1-5 in games at MSG this season decided by 7 points or less<br><br>So many brutal losses.

KnicksMuse @KnicksMuse

2 close losses and some Knicks fans have completely turned on this team 😭

The Knicks will stay home to host the Philadelphia 76ers on Christmas Day at noon ET.