When they traded for Jrue Holiday back in mid-November, the Milwaukee Bucks were hoping to build a top-heavy 'Big 3' around him, two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Khris Middleton to make a championship-contending run.
In Holiday, they were acquiring a former two-time All-Defensive selection and were hoping that he could be a reliable ball-handler at the guard position who could better manage their offence and deliver in late-game situations.
However, the 30-year-old was still 'due' a big game to establish himself as part of the team's Big 3 but it all came together on Monday night (ET), stepping up in the absence of Antetkounmpo, who missed the game with a left knee sprain.
In just 29 minutes, against his young brothers Justin and Aaron with the Indiana Pacers, Jrue put up season-high tallies of 28 points and 14 assists while also recording five rebounds, two steals, and a block.
He was super-efficient from the field and his plus-minus of +26 was second only to teammate Khris Middleton.
It's his first double-double of the season, the third game this campaign with at least five 3-pointers, and the first game since December 2018 to have at least 14 assists.
This sort of splash or 'big game' from Holiday was long-awaited although some of it not being his fault, having missed a huge chunk of February (10 games) with the league's 'health and safety protocols'.
"With our main player out, I just felt like I had to do a little bit more today," Holiday said postgame. "Just tried to push the pace, get into the paint, and dish out."
.@Jrue_Holiday11 pushed the pace tonight AND beat his brothers, again.- FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) March 23, 2021
𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿, 𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿, 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗻 𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗿 🍗#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/RAvM4hD2So
His performance was a huge reason for the Bucks winning their seventh straight and the 12th in their last 13. As a team, seven players knocked down at least one 3-pointers as the Bucks finished the game with 24 - five of their franchise-high 29 and the second-most in franchise history.
"They know when they're open to let it fly," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said postgame.
The team ran away with this one early, scoring 48 points in the first quarter - the 3rd-most in an opening quarter in franchise history - and Holiday was responsible for 19 of those. This victory brings them within half a game of the second-seeded Brooklyn Nets and the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers.
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