2. Kyrie Irving vs Jrue Holiday
We know the regular season doesn’t normally mean anything compared to playoff basketball, but the Bucks treated their final two matchups against the Nets like a playoff game, and both of those games saw Jrue Holiday defend Kyrie Irving.
It goes without saying Holiday is one of the best on-ball defenders in the league and he gave Irving serious fits in the team’s final meeting on May 2. In that game, Holiday limited Irving to just 20 points on 8-of-21 shooting, including 2-of-8 from three in 37 minutes.
When you consider that Irving did whatever he wanted in Round 1 — he averaged 24.8 points with .494/.389/.923 shooting splits vs Boston — it might take some time for him to adjust to Milwaukee’s (and Holiday’s) suffocating defense.
Kyrie Irving vs Jrue Holiday will be must-see television.
Taking that into account, you have to think Holiday’s primary assignment on defense will be to shadow Irving. Though we’d argue that Durant and Harden are more important to the Nets’ success than the All-Star point guard, Irving chipping in about 25 points per game at an efficient rate would really make Brooklyn impossible to beat in this series.
Because of that, Kyrie vs Jrue is a matchup to keep close tabs on.