Isaac Okoro says Jalen Brunson has "antics" on the court that allow him to draw fouls: "Nodding your head back, falling on the ground when not a lot of physicality is used on you"
He adds that he speaks with referees in an attempt to make them aware of Brunson's "antics" pic.twitter.com/xwXMsNGOdn
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) April 17, 2023
It’s an interesting move by Okoro with the Cavs trailing the Knicks 1-0 in their first-round series, as he could be giving Brunson some bulletin board material ahead of Game 2.
Brunson was terrific for the Knicks in their win over the Cavs on Saturday night, scoring 27 points on 11-of-24 shooting from the field. He took four free throws in the game, making all of them.
Okoro started the game as the Cavs’ primary defender on Brunson, but he struggled a bit to slow the Knicks guard down.
Per NBA.com, Okoro was matched up on Brunson for seven field-goal attempts. Brunson went 3-for-7 from the field in those attempts, and he also drew a foul, giving him eight points in the game when guarded by Okoro.
Late in the game, J.B. Bickerstaff opted to use Cedi Osman on Brunson instead. Osman held Brunson to 3-for-8 shooting from the field when the two players were matched up on each other.
The Cavs know just how dangerous Brunson can be, as he dropped a season-high 48 points against them in the final meeting between the teams in the regular season.
There’s no doubt that Brunson does a good job getting to the line, especially with his bigger role this season. After playing second fiddle to Luka Doncic with the Dallas Mavericks, Brunson has blossomed in his first year with the Knicks.
The former second-round pick is averaging a career-high 5.8 free-throw attempts per game this season. He shot an impressive 82.9 percent from the charity stripe during the regular season.
If the Cavs want to beat the Knicks, they are going to have to slow down Brunson, and Okoro is going to be one of the primary players tasked with doing so.
The Cavs wing clearly knows that he has to be careful around Brunson to avoid fouling, and it’s possible he will be able to get officials to see the “antics” that he says Brunson performs during games.
The Knicks and Cavs are scheduled to play Game 2 of their first-round series at 7:30 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 18.