Milwaukee Bucks’ Jrue Holiday Sends Out a Clear Message that They Don’t Fear the Lakers

Published 04/24/2021, 6:00 AM EDT
Mar 31, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) passes the ball as Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) and forward Khris Middleton (22) defend in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The Bucks are yet again having a great regular season, building on two successful years. They are 36-22 with a genuine chance to still finish at least #2 only to the Nets. And just in case they overcome their long-time playoff woes, the downtown can actually find themselves facing the Lakers (hard assumption) in the NBA Finals. 

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But is the roster prepared enough to play arguably the greatest duo in the league right now? This Mike Budenholzer side is most definitely a more confident squad than it was in the preceding years. One reason behind this confidence is the addition of the veteran Jrue Holiday on the starting five.

Jrue Holiday with a message to the Lakers franchise

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In a four-team deal, All-star guard Jrue Holiday left the Pelicans and joined the Bucks in December 2020. This boosted the backcourt strength of the downtown to multifold. As a result, the Bucks resumed from where they left off and almost instantly became the defensive force that they’re known for. 

Head-to-head against the Lakers, the Bucks are 1-1 with the most recent blowout victory coming on March 30. In that 112-97 demolition of the Lakers on Andre Drummond’s debut, Jrue Holiday was the top scorer with 28 points. However, it was the January 21 game that they lost 106-113 which filled Jrue with greater confidence.

In a podcast, he recently expressed, “I remember when we played against the Lakers, I started on LeBron [James], Giannis might’ve started on AD. I’m like, oh yeah, we’re straight. If we need to switch up or do whatever, we really can. And I know these are great players and all that, but like, confidence-wise I’m like, we’re good.”

In that game, the starting five of the Bucks combined for 90 points and outscored the Lakers’ starting lineup. Certainly, the Bucks have the potential to challenge any NBA team with their new lineup.

Read also – Bucks’ Jrue Holiday Explains Difference in Playing Styles Between Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo

How good are the Milwaukee Bucks?

Bucks’ Brook Lopez defends Lakers’ Dennis Schroder in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucks now hold a great duo of switch defenders in Giannis Antetokounmpo and PJ Tucker. With the hardcore defense coming from Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton, the Bucks are in sync to become a tough team for any offensive heavy team. When playing together, the trio of Giannis, Jrue, and Khris averages an effective field goal percentage all above 55%. Giannis from the paint on both ends, Jrue with his pick-and-roll, and Khris with his playmaking abilities strike unmatched chemistry. It would take the best of Ben Simmons to guard these men when they’re making their plays. 

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Just as the Kung Fu Jrue himself added, “Very confident that every game I feel like we should win… I have never done this before, I’m playing 25 minutes and sitting out the whole floor… every night, defensively, oh we’re good.”

Now, apart from them, the side also possesses a prolific center in Brook Lopez and a dependable shooting guard in Donte DiVincenzo. It is only if the Bucks’ bench contributes a little more, that they can outperform the biggies.

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Do you think the Bucks can reach the NBA Finals 2021? Help us know your views in the comments.

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Sourabh Singh

1136 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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