Knicks All-Star guard Jalen Brunson bruises left knee early in New York’s 107-98 win over Cavaliers

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) is tended to after an injury in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sunday, March 3, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) is tended to after an injury in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sunday, March 3, 2024, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

CLEVELAND (AP) — For a change, the New York Knicks carried All-Star guard Jalen Brunson.

After seeing Brunson go down with a bruised left knee in the first quarter Sunday night, the Knicks recovered and posted a 107-98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers that further showcased New York’s toughness and togetherness.

Brunson, who averages 27.2 points per game, was hurt while attempting a jump shot over Cleveland’s Isaac Okoro in the first minute. Brunson came off a screen near the foul, raised up without any contact and crumpled to the floor.

Following the game, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said X-rays on Brunson’s knee were negative — a report that brought relief to New York fans.

“It’s a knee contusion,” said a relaxed Thibodeau. “He bumped knees. That’s what happened. He got the X-rays, was examined by the doctor. Everything was negative. We’ll see where he is tomorrow.”

On the play, the 27-year-old Brunson shot an airball and his legs split awkwardly as he came back down. He staggered toward the 3-point line before falling to the floor while grabbing his left leg in obvious pain.

Brunson sat on the floor as play continued and he briefly got up before limping to the sideline and dropping back down. A replay showed that early in New York’s first possession, Brunson banged knees with Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein as he moved past his teammate setting a screen for him.

Brunson did not return to the bench and was not seen after the game. The Knicks host Atlanta on Tuesday night.

An elite scorer, Brunson has been keeping the Knicks together during a rough stretch of injuries. They’ve been without starters Julius Randle (shoulder), center Mitchell Robinson (ankle) and guard O.G. Anunoby (elbow), who all made the trip and are getting close to returning.

Josh Hart posted a triple-double (13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists) and Miles McBride replaced Brunson and played the final 47 minutes for New York, finishing with 16 points and hitting a game-closing 3-pointer with 33 seconds left.

Donte DiVincenzo paced the Knicks with 28 points in 39 minutes.

Brunson is in his second season with the Knicks, who signed him to a four-year, $104 million contract as a free agent in 2022. Brunson spent his first four NBA seasons with the Dallas Mavericks.

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