Holiday’s ‘masterclass’ helps C’s get gutsy Game 3 victory over Cavs

Holiday’s ‘masterclass’ helps C’s get gutsy Game 3 victory over Cavs appeared first NBC Sports Boston

Jrue Holiday picked the perfect time to play one of his best games against the Boston Celtics.

Senior C’s guard was everywhere Boston’s 106-93 Game 3 win Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. While providing his usual all-defensive skills, he also enjoyed his best offensive performance in months.

Holiday scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting (3-4 3-PT), with 15 coming in the first half. It was his highest scoring output since he dropped 20 points against the Washington Wizards on February 9.

Additionally, Holiday completed a stellar all-around performance with eight rebounds and five assists. He set the tone for the Celtics’ bounce-back win, and his effort didn’t go unnoticed.

“On both ends, I thought he played well, very solid,” C’s coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters. “When he’s so impactful for us, we’re a different team. … He set the tone tonight with his physicality and defense.”

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were the stars of Game 3 with 33 and 28 points, respectively, but they made it a point to acknowledge Holiday’s impact.

“Juru was amazing tonight,” Tatum said. “Juru is kind of the glue that holds us all together. He really does everything we need him to do. He makes sacrifices at times, taking single-digit shots two games in a row.

“But on a night where he can hit mismatches, he can post guys up, he can obviously shoot the 3. When he’s aggressive and in that great rhythm, it makes us a lot better.”

Brown called Holliday’s performance a “masterclass”.

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“Jrue is a dog,” Brown added. “Jrue can’t be talked about enough — how he came in and dominated on both sides of the ball, but made baskets at the right time.”

Holliday’s greatest contribution was his work on Donovan Mitchell. The Cavs star dropped 33 points while shooting 7-of-12 from deep, but ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. This could be attributed to Holiday constantly attacking Mitchell at the basket and being physical with him on the defensive end.

“I thought about being aggressive,” Holiday said of his matchup with Mitchell. “You know Donovan’s going to be aggressive on one side of the ball, but he’s going to make him work on the other side because he’s guarding me. A lot of times I thought I could lay off or do something (different) offensively. Maybe wear him down even more in the third or fourth quarter.”

“I think from the jump I tried to be aggressive with him defensively and not give him any space. He’s going to score and he’s going to do all that. Then for me, I think I’ve got to be aggressive and drive. The paint and work him a little bit more, and that’s not me. If so, it’s D-White (Derrick White).”

If Holiday can duplicate his performance in Game 4, it will go a long way toward helping the Celtics return to TD Garden and have a chance to clinch the series in front of their home crowd.

Boston leads the series 3-1 with kickoff set for Monday night at 7 pm ET. Coverage begins at 6 p.m Celtics Pregame Live on NBC Sports Boston.

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