Jrue Holiday’s early playoff struggles less than ideal for Milwaukee Bucks

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 17: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 17: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

While I did have the Milwaukee Bucks winning their first-round series over the Chicago Bulls in five games, I did not have the Bulls pulling out a game in Milwaukee on my bingo card! It has been a disaster for the Bucks through two games and going to Chicago with a 1-1 split.

At or near the top of the list of worrying things so far is the play of Jrue Holiday through two games on offense.

Holiday had arguably the best season of his career when you factor in his efficiency, defense, passing, etc. and I was very optimistic that last year’s playoff performance wasn’t going to repeat itself this year.

Through two games, it’s pretty darn close.

What has gone wrong for Jrue Holiday through the first two games of the Milwaukee Bucks first-round series?

The biggest gripe that fans had with Holiday’s offense last playoffs was that he was missing a lot of easy looks around the basket.

He shot under 55 percent in the restricted area after being around 66 percent in the regular season. I attributed a lot of it to having to guard the opposing team’s best player each game for long periods and as Holiday pointed out, it’s hard to be great at both ends every night. It takes a lot of effort to be elite defensively and it will cost you at the other end.

This season, Holiday shot around 62 percent in the restricted area which, while not as good as last season, is still solid and is what you’d expect from him. He’s at 50 percent through two games. Granted, it’s only eight shots but that’s just not good enough against a team with very little rim protection.

Of course, the one that sticks out is the layup he missed with just under three minutes to go that would have put Milwaukee down three. Chicago responded with a Nikola Vucevic 3 to go back up by eight and that was ultimately too big of a hole to dig themselves out of (among other mistakes, of course).

He also missed an above-the-break 3 that would have cut the lead to 3 as well, but I’m not as mad about that.

Anyway, I don’t want to attribute all of this to him having to check DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, but that is surely part of it again.

It’s likely just a bad shooting slump coming at a very inopportune time and especially so with Khris Middleton’s sprained MCL.

Is there reason to be concerned about Jrue Holiday?

I don’t want to say that I don’t know but… I really don’t know.

Holiday has been wonderful the last two regular seasons now but has lost all ability to hit a layup in the playoffs through last year and two games so far this year.

I thought the way he ended Game 1 was important for him and it would carry over into Game 2. It did not!

He also has 10 turnovers through two games, which is obviously not good. He averaged 2.4 turnovers in last year’s playoffs so at least he was secure with the ball in addition to his great playmaking and defense.

So far this year we have his great defense (yes DeRozan went berserk but no one was stopping that), some playmaking, and no ball security.

Two games are, of course, a wildly small sample and the only reason this is even being brought up is because of how he did last year. Otherwise, I’d be a madman to even consider being worried about Holiday after two games.

I don’t want to be concerned because Holiday has earned the benefit of the doubt through two great regular seasons and, for all the guff I’m giving him, had great moments in last year’s playoffs as well. He was arguably the best player in the Conference Finals in either conference, he stepped up in spots.

This isn’t me trying to say it’s all on Holiday because it isn’t, duh.

But if Middleton has to miss a game or two or more then we’ll need to see regular-season or Conference Finals Jrue Holiday in this series as soon as possible or things could get hairy.

Next. Grades from the Milwaukee Bucks’ Game 1 win over Chicago Bulls. dark

Holiday and the Milwaukee Bucks will travel down the highway to the United Center for a massive Game 3 against the Chicago Bulls on Friday.