As the Bucks continue to flex their muscles and eke out gritty wins over their playoff run as their comeback victory in Game 4 of the NBA Finals showed, they have weathered this storm with their star guard struggling well below his offensive standard.
This is nothing new to Holiday’s first playoff run with the Bucks and easily the longest of his 11-year NBA career. Despite averaging 17.1 points on .406/.295/.704 shooting splits, 8.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals across 39.2 minutes per game in 21 playoff appearances, Holiday is struggling even further in these NBA Finals than what we saw against the Brooklyn Nets.
Holiday is still providing some level of offense, but doing so at horrific efficiency standards as he’s averaging 15.3 points on 23-for-69 shooting from the field and 6-for-22 from three (27.3 percent), along with 8 assists and 6 rebounds.
For comparison, Holiday averaged 15.1 points on .361/.261/.727 shooting splits, 6.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds across 39.8 minutes per game in the Bucks’ seven-game series against the Nets.
The Milwaukee Bucks need Jrue Holiday’s best shot going into Game 5 in the NBA Finals
It hasn’t been a matter of bad process for Holiday, though we will certainly quibble with those questionable attempts early in the shot clock and his extensive struggles from beyond the arc.
Whether it’s been in isolation situations or cutting off the ball to find cracks in the Suns’ defense, Holiday has largely being able to create or manufacture good looks for himself and the Bucks’ offense. This spinning drive on Devin Booker is a perfect example of how Holiday has been able to get to the rim, but has struggled to see the ball go down the bottom of the net.
Over these NBA Finals, Holiday is 11-for-23 on shots attempted in the restricted area and he’s 11-for-26 on driving attempts (42.3 percent), per NBA.com/stats.
Some of that has come as a result of the Suns’ defense, specifically with Deandre Ayton on the floor, making life even more difficult for Holiday than it has been. With Ayton posting a 42.1 defended field goal percentage on shots taken within six feet of the basket from Bucks players this series, Holiday is 9-for-17 on shots taken in the restricted area over the 113 minutes Holiday and Ayton have overlapped on the floor.
Holiday’s aggressiveness surely hasn’t been a problem all playoffs long and ultimately, it’s what the Bucks need from their second-best perimeter scorer. Unfortunately, it still just hasn’t come together consistently for Holiday, though his 21-point performance in the Bucks’ Game 3 victory may ultimately the best offering he has in this series, at least in a complementary sense.
All of that doesn’t mean that Holiday hasn’t had a sizeable impact in this series. His defensive play and matchup on Chris Paul has increasingly bothered the future Hall of Famer point guard and Holiday has been a large reason for his growing amount of turnovers in this series.
Just as was the case in the Nets series, Holiday has had his work cut out for him on the defensive side of the ball. If his offense can make a long-awaited resurgence just for one night, it will only tilt the Bucks’ title hopes further towards their direction at this critical juncture.