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Brunson shines as Knicks down Heat to level series

Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks heads for the net as Bam Adebayo and Max Strus of the Miami Heat defend in the fourth quarter during game two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Madison Square Garden on May 02, 2023 in New York City. The New York Knicks defeated the Miami Heat 111-105. Photo by ELSA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Jalen Brunson scored 30 points as the New York Knicks defeated the Miami Heat 111-105 to square their Eastern Conference playoff semi-final series at 1-1 on Tuesday.

Brunson shot 10-of-19 from the field including six from three-point range as the Knicks finally overpowered a gutsy Miami line-up playing without injured talisman Jimmy Butler.

A tense duel that saw the lead change hands 16 times was finally settled in the fourth quarter as the Knicks stitched together a 12-3 run midway through the period that included a Brunson three-pointer.

It gave New York a 99-96 lead and that rally proved decisive as they held on down the stretch to extend their lead to eight points with just over 30 seconds remaining.

There was still time for Miami to cut the lead to three at 108-105, but New York would not be denied victory in front of their raucous home fans at Madison Square Garden.

Brunson had berated himself after Sunday’s game one loss, describing his own performance as “horrific” after missing all seven of his attempts from three-point distance.

The 26-year-old playmaker was happier with his contribution on Tuesday.

“A little bit better,” Brunson said. “I’ve still got to be better on both sides of the ball. I’m happy we won, and we can learn from the win, but we’ve got to continue to get better.”

Brunson, who had been an injury doubt before tip-off, was given offensive support from Julius Randle, who finished with 25 points. R.J. Barrett added 24 and Josh Hart 14.

Miami’s scoring was led by Caleb Martin with 22 points while Gabe Vincent finished with 21.

The series now moves to Florida with game three set for Miami on Saturday.

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