Breaking down Bucks guard Jrue Holiday’s clutch defense in a Game 5 win over the Celtics

Championship DNA.

The reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks showed tonight exactly why they are the ones with the trophy, arriving at the TD Garden and coming out with a huge 110-107 comeback over the Celtics to take a 3-2 series lead.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo led the charge with 40 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while Jrue Holiday added 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and Bobby Portis chipped in 14 points and 15 rebounds off the bench.

The Celtics were in firm control down the stretch of the game when Payton Pritchard gave them a 14-point lead with just over 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks never stopped.

Bobby Portis, whose relentless energy and activity turned the tide down the stretch, gave them the lead with 11.4 seconds to go on a throwback layup. that was one of Seven offensive rebounds for the game. He had more than the entire Celtics team (7 > 5) in Game 5.

Then Jrue Holiday happened.

The Bucks guard turned up not one, but two huge plays on the defensive end that sealed the win, giving them a chance to close out the series at home on Friday.

Let’s take a closer look.

Breaking down Jrue Holiday’s clutch defense

First the block… then the save.

Holiday’s defensive knowledge is among the best in the league and makes it even more impressive: His two key plays came against newly named Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart.

As the Celtics fielded the ball, trailing by one, Holiday cuts off Jaylen Brown’s pindown, before patiently waiting for Smart to make his move.

With Pat Connaughton contesting Smart’s baseline layup attempt, Holiday made his move, coming up with his left hand to block the shot attempt.

That is only the first part.

With the presence of mind to keep the ball in play, Holiday cornered the ball and, despite Smart’s best efforts to send it to the corner, reacted quickly and threw the ball to him, giving the Bucks possession.

Championship DNA.

“Just a great instinctive play by Jrue,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game. “Smart had an angle, he drove the baseline and Jrue just, I’m not sure exactly where he came from.

“It’s a great play. That’s what Jrue is very capable of.”

A pair of free throws by Connaughton put the Bucks up three on the next possession, but they still weren’t home.

The Celtics had to go the length of the court, but they had 5.9 seconds on the clock, plenty of time to get a clean shot, but when Smart crossed the middle of the court, who was waiting for him?

Holidays of course.

Two big plays in the space of 10 seconds completely turned the game and potentially the series on its head, bringing back memories of his steal of Devin Booker in Game 5 of last year’s NBA Finals, which resulted in an alley. -oop from Giannis Antetokounmpo and a 3-2 series lead.

“He’s a winner. Jrue Holiday is a winner. Ask any player in this league, ask any coach. He’s a winner,” Budenholzer added.

While Antetounmpo has led the Bucks’ charge, Holiday has been by his side.

Despite struggling offensively, averaging 19.1 points on 37.1 percent shooting in the playoffs, he has made his presence felt on the defensive end and according to StatMuseHoliday as a defender is holding his opponents to the lowest field goal percentage throughout this postseason.

With reports that Khris Middleton could return for Game 6the defending champions are on their way to another shot at the Eastern Conference crown.

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