On Saturday (July 17), Jrue Holiday produced a sensational steal with the game on the line to hoist the Milwaukee Bucks over the Phoenix Suns and within one game of their first NBA title since 1971.
Following a poor 4-of-20 shooting performance in Game 4, the 31-year-old guard made 12 of 20 in a 123-119 victory to give Milwaukee a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, which continue on Tuesday in Milwaukee.
Holiday, who was named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team for the second time in four seasons, finished with 24 points, 13 assists, and three thefts, the last of which pleased the Bucks and saddened the Suns.
Devin Booker of Phoenix was hunting for a game-winning basket when Holiday swiped the ball from him and then lofted a high pass to Greek forward Antetokounmpo, whose backbreaker slam dunk stunned the crowd.
When Holiday got into the paint with the ball, he dropped off his man to double team Booker, who scored 40 points. Rather than having Holiday run down the time, Antetokounmpo was waiting for a high pass after Holiday dribbled away. Holiday ripped the ball from Booker's fingers, and Khris Middleton, who had 29 points, knew what was coming next.
And, yeah, Holiday shone with his shotmaking after a dreadful night. Coach Mike Budenholzer was pleased to see Antetokounmpo and Holiday, who combined for 32 points, use their instincts to deliver a knockout punch.
Budenholzer said, "It was a big play. The steal late, it was just an instinctive play. He's an incredible defender, strong hands and got in there and took it".
He further added, "Most times, you want to pull it out and run the clock. But Jrue and Giannis are in a 2-on-1, just to put two points on the board, just trusting their instincts. They're playing, and they're competing. That's what we need."