Jrue Holiday stole the show in Milwaukee Bucks’ Game 5 win in NBA Finals

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 17: (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 17: (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

If Milwaukee Bucks fans needed a reason why they made such a massive decision to acquire Jrue Holiday last offseason, Saturday night gave us all the reason why.

As the Bucks were able to clinch their Game 5 victory over the Phoenix Suns in this year’s NBA Finals last night, Holiday’s fingerprints were all over the win. When Milwaukee needed everything that Holiday could have to offer going into Game 5, he absolutely delivered when needed him the most.

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Finishing with a series-high 27 points on 12-for-20 shooting (3-for-6 from three), 13 assists, four rebounds, three steals and a block in nearly 42 minutes of action, Holiday put in the performance of his 11-year career.

The former Bruin packed an immediate scoring punch as he helped usher in the Bucks’ massive second quarter comeback that saw them flip the game following a 19-point swing in the first two frames.

Holiday showed to us all that he had his jumper working for him throughout the night as he regularly stopped and pulled up from both 3-point range and mid-range to buoy the Bucks’ second-most efficient performance these playoffs, per NBA.com/stats.

Jrue Holiday put in a massive two-way performance in the Milwaukee Bucks’ Game 5 win over the Suns

It wasn’t just the face that Holiday was hitting shots and trading off buckets with the Suns and namely Devin Booker, just as the Bucks’ ‘Big 3′ had done throughout the night as the leading trio accounted for 88 of the Bucks’ 123 total points.

Holiday was equally disruptive as he was impactful offensively as he regularly hounded the likes of Booker and Chris Paul, who the Bucks have been able to stymie throughout these Finals.

Make no mistake, both Paul and Booker have still gotten theirs, especially as Booker finished with 40 points and Paul finished with 21 points for Game 5. However, Holiday’s defensive presence showed the full breadth of itself as the Bucks were clinging to their miniscule lead as the Suns made their final push of the night.

After Phoenix had cleaned up a miss from Holiday on the other end of the floor seconds earlier, Holiday sprung into action as he helped off a Devin Booker. The rest is, as they say, history, as Holiday wrestled away the ball from Booker and kickstarted the defining moment of the night by throwing up an alley-oop that only Giannis Antetokounmpo could have caught and throw down himself.

That and Antetokounmpo’s ensuing free throw proved to be the insurance for the Bucks to come one win away from an NBA title. Asked by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps about his brilliance and his timely heroics and Holiday tried to downplay his game-sealing highlight and steal on Booker:

"“I guess I was just in the right place at the right time,” Holiday said."

The same statement could be said of the Bucks themselves after they made the massive deal to acquire Holiday nearly eight months ago.

It hasn’t been a seamless playoff run for Holiday as he has had to overcome his offensive struggles throughout multiple series at this point. Despite that, he’s managed to make timely plays and assert himself in ways that have been increasingly comfortable to Bucks fans over this year.

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It’s in these moments where Holiday has proven why the Bucks made such a huge gamble when acquiring him. Now, never being closer towards winning an NBA title since 1974, Holiday is one of the biggest reasons the Bucks are in this place and gave them their second straight clutch defensive play that will define this series.