5 crucial matchups in Milwaukee Bucks’ playoff series with Boston Celtics

Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday, Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum
Dec 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Jrue Holiday’s defense on Jayson Tatum could swing the series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics

On the opposite side of the basketball, Jrue Holiday will likely be given the assignment of guarding Jayson Tatum, one of the most lethal scorers in the association. Tatum has been among the Bucks killers over the past few years, and given how great he has played this year, the Milwaukee Bucks must be able to limit his contributions, and Holiday will likely be tasked with that tall order.

Looking back at the regular season, no Buck spent more time guarding Tatum than Holiday, and he was serviceable over those 95.6 partial possessions. Tatum scored 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting in that span, with a significant portion of that coming from downtown, where he buried four of his nine triples. Though Tatum put up quality numbers offensively, Holiday also forced three turnovers by the All-Star forward as these two went at it. In this series, Holiday will have to force Tatum to work for every single shot.

While every series is different, Holiday put on a defensive masterclass in Milwaukee’s first round series against Chicago, showing his prowess. The Bulls shot 21-of-68 when defended by Holiday in the first round, which included holding Zach LaVine to 6-of-21 shooting and DeMar DeRozan to 8-of-21. Among players that have defended at least 30 shot attempts in these playoffs, no one has a better defended field goal percentage than Holiday, as opponents have shot 30.9 percent when defended by him. He must now replicate that defensive excellence against one of the best in the business in Jayson Tatum.