NBA Hoops

Jrue Holiday to the rescue

Jrue Holiday to the rescue

In Game 3, Jrue Holiday had a plan: to wear out Cleveland’s star Donovan Mitchell, he not only hounded him on the defensive end, but went at him on offense, too.

“There were times where, rather than defer or do something (else), I just thought maybe attacking him might get him even more exhausted by the third or fourth quarter,” Holiday said.

Eighteen points and five assists later, the Celtics walked away with a 106-93 win in Cleveland with Holiday having his best offensive game of the playoffs.

Two nights later, Mitchell was held out of Game 4 with a strained calf, but after a breakout game on Saturday, Holiday kept the momentum. He followed up with 16 points and another five assists in another 109-102 win on the road to help take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Cavaliers.

After shooting a career-best 42.9% from 3 in the regular season, Holiday hit 4 of 8 from behind the arc in Game 4. It wasn’t so much about the output as it was the timing.

Holiday didn’t attempt a shot in the first quarter, but in the second with both teams going to their bench, Holiday saw an opportunity to again be more aggressive offensively. After Max Strus opened up the second with a three-pointer to cut the lead to six, Holiday scored seven unanswered to push the lead to 13. Later in the quarter, back-to-back Strus threes cut the lead to two. Holiday answered with a triple of his own to stop the bleeding. They weren’t exactly “clutch” minutes yet, but a stretch when the 33-year-old took it upon himself to carry the team.

“I think you just know. I’m not sure there’s really a formula to it. I think it’s more of a feel,” Holiday said of how he picks his spots.

“You see guys like JT and JB, they’re always going to have the ball and they’re going to be able to make plays, do stuff like that, but there’s also times where they have two or three guys on them. Somebody else needs to make a play. That’s where me or Payton [Pritchard] or DWhite or Al or KP when KP comes back. Everybody just needs to be attentive, be aggressive and when it’s your time, just go out there and be confident.”

He’d score ten of Boston’s 25 points in the second quarter and another six in the second half.

The Celtics signed the 14-year veteran in part to be a calming presence for their two superstars. He played the entire 4th quarter and in Boston’s first clutch minutes of the postseason (the…

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