Perhaps there was no other way for the Bucks-Celtics game to end on a day after so much discussion about individual awards, thanks to Joel Embiid. Embiid’s right that too much rides on the opinions of others, which made it all the more galling that the MLBPA was accepting of adopting a similar system for its players. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Still, these things matter to players, as it would to anyone who wants affirmation for the hard work they’ve put in and the improvement they’ve made. It would appear Jrue Holiday had some thoughts on Marcus Smart winning the Defensive Player Of The Year award, and was submitting his screener a bit too late but not too early to make his own statement:
“It’s not like I planned it out or anything,” Holiday said, describing the play after the game. “I just went after it; it was instinctual.”
Holiday snuffed out Boston’s last two possessions like he was taking candy from a dead sloth to round off Milwaukee’s exemplary fourth quarter, coming back from 14 down, in a 110-107 win in Boston. It also was the cherry on a 24-8-8 performance from Holiday over 40 minutes.
The Bucks now lead the series, 3-2.
“We’re in Boston, we’re down 14 in the fourth quarter and people would say that everything’s against us,” Holiday said after the game. “But we come together. I feel like we’ve done that multiple times and we live and die by that. Having each other’s backs, just wrapping arms and going up there fighting — honestly, just leaving it on the line.”
The authoritative nature of Holiday’s block was the perfect symbol of how the Bucks ripped this one away from the Cs, who had led since early in the 2nd quarter. Holiday was intent on making sure everyone knows he’s a stone bitch of a defender himself, even if he had to punk out the now-reigning DPOY to do so.
“He’s a winner. Jrue Holiday is a winner,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Ask any player in this league, any coach in this league, he’s a winner.”