Jrue Holiday has heard it over and over again from coach Doug Collins this season: Attack the basket, be aggressive early, score the basketball.
It has been Collins’ mantra because he knows the 21-year-old point guard is the starting unit’s best scorer. And in Tuesday’s Game 2 win in Chicago, all that harping finally paid off. Holiday scored 26 points as the Sixers’ offense broke out with 109 points against the league’s No. 1 defense.
It’s not a natural role for Holiday, but he knows that his offense is one of the keys to the series.
“I look more to set people up. But when it comes down to it, I need to be aggressive. That’s how we’re going to win,” Holiday said after Thursday’s practice. “When I’m aggressive scoring, it opens up things for everyone else.”
During the regular season, the Sixers ranked 22nd in points per game and shot 44.8- percent from the field. They shot a torrid 59-percent in Game 2, a rate they know is unsustainable as they posted 109 points.
“I thought we played some very good freelance basketball, but we kept our discipline. And that’s a hard thing to do,” Collins said. “And make no bones about it. You shoot 59-percent, you’ve got a great chance to win.”
Much of that chance is riding on Holiday.
Sizing up the situation
The biggest advantage the Bulls have on the Sixers is their size.
Expect coach Tom Thibodeau to emphasize rebounding, physical play and getting to the foul line in Game 3. Doug Collins will counter with Lavoy Allen.
Yes, the same Lavoy Allen that was the 50th pick in the 2011 draft out of Temple. Allen has 15 rebounds in the first two games of this series, while struggling Spencer Hawes has seven.
“He’s unflappable. You can trust him,” Collins said of Allen.