NBA

Jrue Holiday says the only way to stop Kyrie Irving in NBA Finals is to ‘pray’

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Right before the start of the Western Conference matchup between Dallas and Minnesota, Anthony Edwards thought if would be “fun” to guard Kyrie Irving, as he was using some provocative words when discussing his squad’s defensive approach for this clash. 

“My matchup is going to be Kyrie [Irving],” Ant said with a smile. “So that’s going to be fun.” However, now that we know the Wolves were almost swept 4-1 in the series, Boston guard Jrue Holiday is much more careful when addressing how to defend against his All-Star rival.

“Pray,” said the veteran star. “I think it’s just familiarity, just, I think, knowing each other’s game, doing your best to stay in front of him — trying to take away the things that’ll probably hurt you the most. And then, probably most of all, having help. Him being able to see multiple guys on the court, making it look like it’s crowded, making shots as tough as possible even though he’s a tough shot-maker.”

When focusing on the partnership with co-star Luka Doncic, things only get harder. In their last match together, the Dallas duo combined for 72 points in Game 5 against the Timberwolves. Derrick White also knows they are pretty much unstoppable.

“We know they’re great players,” the guard said. “There’s really no stopping them. You just try to make it difficult for them. They’re going to take tough shots and they’re going to make tough shots. So, just continuing to trust the gameplan, trust that over 48 minutes what we’re doing is going to work.”

While the Slovenian dropped in 32.4 points along with 8.4 assists per contest during their last series, Kyrie contributed with 27 points per game. However, their biggest skill was displaying clutch performances night after night.

“There’s going to be stretches where they hit three, four, five tough shots in a row, but you’ve just got to continue to keep trusting the gameplan and what’s going to work out in the long run,” White added.

Coach Joe Mazzulla Has Explained Before Why He Believes ‘There Is No Stopping’ Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving Duo

Due to the duo’s impressive results, rival coach Joe Mazzulla doesn’t believe there is a strategy out there that can stop them. As we grow closer to Game 1 of the Finals, set for this Thursday, he called out the narrative that the series will come down to whether the Celtics can limit Luka and Kyrie.

“The whole thing is that’s what people like to focus on,” the Boston tactician said this past Saturday. “They don’t look at the game as a connected game. If those guys play well, then they beat you. They don’t look at your offense, your defense, your turnovers, your second-chance points or your execution at the offensive end.”

Mazzulla believes they must focus on playing a complete game, not only defending them. “The whole thing that this series is about ‘stopping those two guys,’ there is no stopping them,” Joe explained. “There’s defending them at a high level and there’s playing a complete game because every part of a game is connected.”

The Celtics boss then remarked how the games between Mavs and Wolves really went to show that even though the series ended 4-1, he says every match was very close.