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'I Missed': Jalen Brunson Carries Load, Takes Blame for Knicks OT Loss to Blazers

The New York Knicks' star attraction reached the 30-point plateau for the second straight game, but he rued a missed opportunity at the end.
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How much more is Jalen Brunson supposed to do?

One more thing, according to Brunson himself.

Brunson was both spectacular and efficient as he scored 32 points in the New York Knicks' Friday night 132-129 home loss in OT to Portland Trail Blazers. The former Dallas Maverick broke the 30-point plateau for the second straight game after a downright historic effort in Monday's win in Oklahoma City, becoming the first Knicks guard in franchise history to sink at least 90 percent of his two-point attempts in a single game (min. 13 tries) 

But Brunson, the Knicks' prized and big-money free-agent signee stolen from Dallas last summer, missed the potential game-winning floater from two feet just before the regulation buzzer, which would have broken a 116-116 tie. 

Brunson was asked if he viewed this as a winnable game for New York, which has now dropped have lost three of its last four games despite a 3-2 road trip out west. 

"Yes," he said.

Why? 

"Because,'' Brunson said, "I missed the game-winner."

That's not really the whole story, though.

There were other factors at play: Jerami Grant scored a career-high 44 points Friday night for the visitors. Anfernee Simons had 38 points and Jusuf Nurkic finished with 20, capped by a three-point play that put the Blazers ahead for good with 3:31 left in OT.

But the Blazers (11-8) were vulnerable. They'd lost four straight games and were without star guard Damian Lillard, who is out with a right calf injury.

So, yes, even for the often downtrodden Knicks (9-10), this game was winnable.

New York continues to be largely reliant on Brunson (leading the team in scoring at 21 points per), who made his would-be victorious spinning layup with 13.7 seconds left. Then came a pair of made free throws for the Blazers (part of a 51-attempt night) before Brunson missed his potential game-winner in regulation ... which would be followed by a similar scenario in OT.

New York pulled to within 129-127 on a layup by (guess who?) Brunson with 14.6 seconds left ... then came two more Blazers free throws (of course). Brunson tried to narrow the gap to one from deep but fell short, sealing the Knicks' fate. Yet another Portland free throw created the final margin.

The Knicks close out the holiday weekend with a visit from the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday evening (6 p.m. ET, MSG). 

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