It is certainly not a coincidence that the Milwaukee Bucks are 10-3 following the All-Star break when Jrue Holiday plays. While he is not solely responsible for that record, the veteran has been on a tear over his last 13 appearances, which has ignited the defending champs down the stretch of the regular season. Holiday has averaged 20.5 points while shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 44.3 percent from long range while tallying 3.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. These numbers are outstanding from the former All-Star, but it is how Holiday is getting them that is truly worth noting.
Breaking down Jrue Holiday’s recent dominance for the Milwaukee Bucks
Offensively, Holiday has been as versatile as they come, getting his 20.5 points per game in many different ways during this stretch. The most noticeable has been his shooting from long range, but specifically, his step-back shooting. Per NBA.com/stats, Holiday has shot 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) on his step-back triples over his last 13 games, as it has seemingly become the guard’s new go-to move. This shot has unlocked another level to Holiday’s game offensively, and it could be the most significant X-factor for him moving forward, given how much the Bucks rely on their shooting.
Another reason this shooting is so important is that it allows Holiday to be more versatile on the offensive end, given how strongly he can also take it to the rim. In addition to his 3-point barrage, Holiday has also not been shy about taking it inside as he has tallied the third most post-ups (28) in the league among guards following the NBA All-Star break. Shooting 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) on these post-ups, Holiday has utilized his strength to attack opponents down low.
Holiday’s ability to knock down a step-back triple while also being able to post up his opponent is significant because it will keep opposing defenses guessing. He has excelled in both areas since a much-needed All-Star break, and the Milwaukee Bucks have clearly benefitted from it. His scoring and efficiency have been completely off the charts recently, propelled by a versatile attack from all over the floor. When the guard is making his shots like this, it makes him an incredibly tough cover, which has been on full display lately.
Not only is Holiday scoring the basketball insanely efficiently, but he is doing it in the big moments. The veteran currently ranks fifth in the association in fourth-quarter points per game with 8.3, and he is doing it by shooting an eye-popping 68.8 percent from the floor and 70.6 percent from range over this stretch. Some noteworthy fourth-quarter performances include a 17-point effort against the Phoenix Suns, 16 points versus the Chicago Bulls, and seven points, including a game-winning bucket, against the Miami Heat. Holiday has consistently stepped up for the Bucks late in games, which has helped them secure several hard-fought victories following the All-Star break.
In addition to getting his own shots, Holiday has facilitated at a high level with his 7.3 assists, the 12th most on average in the league following the break. Two players that have thrived off Holiday making these passes are Grayson Allen and Khris Middleton. Allen has shot 14-of-25 (56 percent) on his triples off passes from Holiday, while Middleton has gone 10-of-18 (55.6 percent). Though Holiday has been plagued by head-scratching turnovers at times, his overall facilitating has been fantastic, as the results speak for themselves.
While Holiday’s offense has rightfully earned the most attention, the guard has also been having a massive impact on the defensive side of the ball as well. Holiday has tallied 28 steals following the break, which is tied for the third-most in the entire association in this span. As usual, Holiday is making a significant impact on defense by hounding opposing ball-handlers and forcing turnovers.
In short, Holiday has been outstanding on both ends of the floor since returning from the All-Star break, and it has given the Milwaukee Bucks a much-needed spark. Holiday’s presence was dearly missed in Milwaukee’s recent loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, which moved the Bucks to just 4-10 on the season when the guard is not in the lineup. That is certainly not a coincidence.
Holiday missed the last game with left ankle soreness, and hopefully it is nothing serious as the Milwaukee Bucks attempt to finish strong down the stretch.