Boston Celtics

Holiday's ‘masterclass' helps C's earn gutsy Game 3 win over Cavs

Holiday had his best offensive game since February in Boston's Game 3 win over Cleveland.

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Jrue Holiday picked the perfect time to have one of his best games as a Boston Celtic.

The veteran C's guard was everywhere in Boston's 106-93 Game 3 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night. While providing his usual All-Defensive talents, he also enjoyed his best offensive performance in several months.

Holiday notched 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting (3-4 3-PT) with 15 coming in the first half. It was his highest scoring output since he dropped 20 points against the Washington Wizards on Feb. 9.

In addition, Holiday had eight rebounds and five assists to complete a stellar all-around performance. He set the tone for the Celtics' bounce-back win, and his effort didn't go unnoticed.

"On both ends, I thought he played really well, really solid," C's coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters. "When he's that impactful for us, we're a different team. ... He set the tone tonight with his physicality and defense."

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were the stars of Game 3 with 33 and 28 points respectively, but they made a point to acknowledge Holiday's impact.

"Jrue was amazing tonight," Tatum said. "Jrue is kind of the glue that keeps us all together. He literally does everything that we need him to. He sacrifices sometimes, taking single-digit shots a couple games in a row.

"But in a night where he can attack the mismatches, he can post up guys, he can obviously shoot the 3. When he's being aggressive and in that great rhythm, it makes us that much better."

Brown called Holiday's performance a "masterclass."

"Jrue is a dog,” Brown added. “Can’t speak highly enough about Jrue — just how he came and just dominated on both sides of the ball, but just made timely baskets."

Holiday's greatest contribution was his work on Donovan Mitchell. The Cavs star dropped 33 points while shooting 7-of-12 from deep but ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. That can be attributed to Holiday consistently attacking Mitchell at the basket and being physical with him on the defensive end.

"Thought about being aggressive," Holiday said regarding his matchup with Mitchell. "You know Donovan's going to be aggressive on one side of the ball, but to make him work on the other side because he's guarding me. There’s a lot of times where I might defer or do something (else) and I just thought maybe attacking him might get him even more exhausted by the third or fourth quarter."

"I think from the jump I just tried to be aggressive with him defensively and not give him any space. Even though he's going to score and he's going to do all that. Then on offense for me, I think just being aggressive and driving to the paint and making him work a bit more. It's just gonna help our team. We're making it tough on him. If it's not me, it's D-White (Derrick White). If it's not D-White, it's JB (Jaylen Brown)."

If Holiday can duplicate his performance in Game 4, it'll go a long way toward helping the Celtics return to TD Garden with a chance to clinch the series in front of their home crowd.

Boston will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead Monday night with the opening tip set for 7 p.m. ET. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live on NBC Sports Boston.

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