The New York Knicks just might be the biggest story in the NBA to start February. They are riding a nine-game win streak despite being overrun with injuries, and star guard Jalen Brunson added an exclamation mark to the team’s dazzling stretch this week, putting New York on his back in a comeback win over the Indiana Pacers. Unsurprisingly, longtime Knicks play-by-play voice Mike Breen rose to the occasion during Brunson’s fourth-quarter explosion with what popular ESPN NBA analyst Zach Lowe called “one of the great calls of his life.”
When Brunson — who was named an All-Star for the first time the same night — hit a midrange jumper to finally put the Knicks up around the 5-minute mark of the fourth quarter in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd, the game wasn’t over. But Breen understood that would be the game’s turning point amid perhaps the best stretch of a memorable season and let out a line that summed up everything about Brunson and this Knicks team.
The next day on The Lowe Post podcast, Lowe celebrated why the call was so special.
“Mike Breen with one of the great calls of his life, and I’m not being hyperbolic,” Lowe said.
Lowe then went into detail about everything Breen unleashed with that single call.
“Jalen Brunson hits a mid-ranger to complete a comeback … Indiana calls timeout. The crowd is going bonkers because they just love this team, they love Brunson, they love what he stands for,” Lowe explained. “They love that he was a second-round pick. Dallas decided we’re not going to pay him this much money, and he proves all the doubters wrong. That’s such a New York thing. Crowd’s going crazy, and the shot goes in.
“And Mike Breen goes, ‘Jalen Brunson, born to play basketball!’ And it was just this succinct, perfect encapsulation of not only who Jalen Brunson is, which is like … a crafty, old-school basketball soul. Son of a player, son of a coach, all of that. And his own exuberance, Mike Breen, as someone who’s been around the Knicks his entire life, feeling like, ‘I can’t believe how good this g**-d*** team is.'”
It’s hard to argue that this call belongs in the Breen pantheon. It may have only been on MSG Networks, where he calls local Knicks broadcasts, but it was every bit as huge and meaningful as anything he has done with ESPN or ABC.
"JALEN BRUNSON, BORN TO PLAY BASKETBALL"
Mike Breen with an incredible call for an incredible win pic.twitter.com/InzQLYO5Vr
— Knicks Memes (@KnicksMemes) February 2, 2024
There’s something unique about getting to shepherd a local fan base through an awesome season, and Breen rose to the occasion this week.