Atlantic Notes: Holiday, Porzingis, Raptors, Sixers

The Celtics eked out a 133-128 overtime thriller in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals vs. Indiana on Tuesday. Jayson Tatum led the team in scoring with 36 points and Jaylen Brown hit the biggest shot of the night, a three-pointer with five seconds left in regulation to tie the game. However, it was Jrue Holiday who earned the loudest praise from both locker rooms late on Tuesday night.

Holiday, who was named to the All-Defensive Second Team earlier in the day, filled the box score with 28 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and three steals in a team-high 48 minutes while serving as the primary defender against Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton had 25 points and 10 assists in the game, but he did his damage against other Celtics players — he was 0-for-3 with zero points, three assists, and two turnovers when Holiday was guarding him, per

“He’s the best defender in the NBA,” Haliburton said of Holiday (Twitter video link). “He has been for a long time.”

“Jrue was fantastic,” Brown said, per Brian Robb of “Jrue was exceptional. Shout out to Jrue. Jrue came out and balled, man. He’s the reason why we won his game. I think he just was poised, he took advantage of his matchups. He just was so, so elite in that. It’s a lot. And he’s guarding Haliburton, picking him up, chasing him around. That was special from Jrue Holiday.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • There’s “growing optimism” that Kristaps Porzingis could return to action for the Celtics as soon as Game 4 on Monday, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Wojnarowski, Boston wants to take a cautious approach with Porzingis, who has been out since April 30 due to a right calf strain, but he has been ramping up his basketball activities as of late. If the C’s keep winning, it could buy Porzingis some more recovery time, since there would be no urgency to bring him back on Monday if the club had a 3-0 series lead.
  • Outlining what the Raptors‘ offseason might look like, Eric Koreen of The Athletic suggests that extending Scottie Barnes, re-signing Immanuel Quickley, and adding backcourt depth are the most important items on the team’s to-do list. Koreen identifies Bobi Klintman and Ryan Dunn as possible targets with the No. 19 and No. 31 picks in the draft and points to Monte Morris as a veteran point guard who might make sense in free agency.
  • Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer poses 10 general NBA offseason questions that will help shape the Sixers‘ offseason, including whether Paul George will sign an extension with the Clippers and whether the Heat would consider trading Jimmy Butler.
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