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Bucks' Jrue Holiday clamps down on Nets' Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving  of the Brooklyn Nets is

Kyrie Irving  of the Brooklyn Nets is defended by Jrue Holiday of the Bucks during the first half of a game at Fiserv Forum on May 2, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Credit: Getty Images/Stacy Revere

The Bucks’ Jrue Holiday has a reputation as one of the toughest defenders in the NBA, and he lived up to it in the Bucks’ 117-114 victory over the Nets on Sunday afternoon. Holiday had the primary responsibility for covering Nets star Kyrie Irving, who managed to score 20 points but did it shooting 8-for-21, including a poor 2-for-8 effort from three-point range.

In addition, the Nets committed 16 turnovers that led to 20 Bucks points, including five turnovers by Kevin Durant and four by Irving thanks to the way Holiday hounded him.

"We’ve just got to be mature with our possessions, take care of the basketball, limit ourselves turning the ball over and take good shots," Irving said. "Jrue’s always gotten credit from a lot of the great players in the league for what he’s capable of doing on that [defensive] end of the floor, so it’s nothing new.

"It’s something I think I’m looking forward to figuring out in Game 2. This little mini-series is just going back at it. This is what we gear up for in the offseason, going against the best of the best and proving it. Mutual respect for both of us in terms of what he brings to the game on both ends of the floor."


Irving’s reference was to the rematch the Nets will play against the Bucks on Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum.

Coach Steve Nash also expressed his admiration for the defensive job Holiday turned in.

"We all know he’s an elite defender," Nash said. "I think we got a little stagnant at times. We need to move and play together. We didn’t make them make enough decisions or make them guard in space. They put us in positions where they can use their length, strength and defensive schemes to make it difficult on us."

Nets notes

Nash had no update on the condition of Jeff Green, who took a knee to the hip … Nic Claxton was available to play but did not get into the game because Nash wants him to regain game shape.

New York Sports