Finals MVP Ladder: In series of stars, Jrue Holiday still stands out
3 mins read

Finals MVP Ladder: In series of stars, Jrue Holiday still stands out

Dallas coach Jason Kidd called Jaylen Brown Boston’s “best player” ahead of Game 2 of the 2024 NBA Finals, but Jrue Holiday proved Sunday in Beantown that the role is interchangeable.

The 33-year-old busted the Mavericks for 26 points and 11 rebounds in Boston’s 105-98 Game 2 victory at TD Garden despite Luka Doncic producing a game-high 32 points with 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Holiday had 17 points in the first half on 7-for-9 shooting before piling on a 4-for-5 clinic in the second half with seven rebounds and a steal to lift Boston to a 2-0 lead in the 2024 NBA Finals.

The 33-year-old led five double-digit scorers for Boston which ultimately combined for 90.5% of the team’s scoring in Game 2.

“I’m a utility guy,” he said. “I’ll do whatever. I’m here to win.”

Teams winning the first two games of the NBA Finals have won the series 86.1% of the time.

Here is the Top 5 in our 2024 Race to the NBA Finals MVP Ladder after Game 2:

1. Jrue Holiday, Boston Celtics

NBA Finals stats: 19 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 4 apg

Holiday’s virtuoso performance in the first half set the tone for a night of dominance. He finished as the first guard to produce at least 25 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 75% or better from the floor in an NBA Finals game. His 26 points, including 9-for-9 in the paint, registered as the second-most he’s scored this season in any game during the regular season or playoffs.

2. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

NBA Finals stats: 31 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 6 apg

You’ll notice Doncic’s assists are down through the first two games of the Finals. That directly correlates to the results for Dallas in this series. The five-time All-Star produced his 10th career postseason triple-double in Game 2, matching Larry Bird, Draymond Green and Rajon Rondo for No. 6 in NBA history. However, that hasn’t been enough.

3. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

NBA Finals stats: 21.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 4.5 apg

The 27-year-old moved past Dallas coach Jason Kidd to take sole possession of 21st on the NBA’s postseason 3-pointers list (237) despite shooting only 1-for-5 from range in Game 2. Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 19 assists as the former notched his sixth consecutive 20-point outing while providing plenty of leadership and intensity.

4. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

NBA Playoffs stats: 27 ppg, 10 rpg, 8.5 apg

Don’t get caught up in Tatum’s scoring. He’s providing lockdown defense while facilitating (12 assists). He dished seven assists in the second quarter, the most in an NBA Finals quarter since 1998 when John Stockton distributed eight dimes in the fourth against Chicago.

5. Kristaps Porzingis, Boston Celtics

NBA Playoffs stats: 16 ppg, 5 rpg, 2.5 bpg

Count Porzingis among five Celtics averaging 16 points or more per game in the Finals with Brown, Holiday, Tatum and Derrick White. Porzingis left Game 2 early after suffering what looked like a right leg injury in the fourth quarter. “I don’t think it’s anything serious,” he said. “I’ll be good.” Coming off the bench, Porzingis combined with Holiday for half of Boston’s points in the opening half.