Jrue Holiday: Yanked Less Than 2 Minutes into the Sixers-Wizards Game

Lake CruiseAnalyst IJanuary 13, 2012

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 16: Guard Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers shouts during a game against the Maim Heat at the American Airlines Arena in game one of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 16, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Liscence agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Does Jrue Holiday take ball security seriously, especially when playing against the Washington Wizards? Unfortunately, he committed a barrage of turnovers to start this season.

Holiday had six turnovers to two assists against the Blazers in the first game. He had at least six turnovers eight times last season—three in the first 10 games.

However, Holiday only had one turnover versus the Suns in this season’s second game. He posted seven more to two assists in the win against the Pacers.

So, will Holiday learn his lesson at a fast pace and take care of the ball like his life depended on it? His life outside of Doug Collins’ doghouse could depend on ball security.

After two turnovers early in the first quarter tonight, Jrue was substituted for Lou Williams less than two minutes in the game. The Sixers’ young point guard could be seen sitting next to Collins on the bench while being scolded and instructed.

Meanwhile, Sweet Lou was busy scolding the Wizards. He scored six points in his first four minutes. He finished with eight in the first and pulled off two fantastic floaters over shot-blocking center JaVale McGee.

The young McGee is averaging three swats per game this season—second in the NBA and barely behind DeAndre Jordan. But his Washington bunch was 1-9 before coming into Wells Fargo Center to face Philly.

Yet, the Sixers had four turnovers early and trailed by four points about halfway through the period.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers makes a shot over Trey Johnson #12 of the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena on January 4, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Once their turnover issues were in the wind, however, the 76ers went on to post 33 points in the quarter. It was their highest point total in a period thus far this season.

Jrue returned to the action, by the way, with seconds left in the quarter. To start the second stanza, Holiday, 21, responded to the early benching by pulling off a marvelous move in the paint for a bucket.


Philly's Best Hope?

Jrue turns 22 in June. Last season, Derrick Rose became the youngest player to win the NBA MVP trophy. Rose turned 23 years old last October.

By his 23rd birthday, Holiday could become Philly’s best hope and NBA MVP. The turnovers, though, must be cut down if the 76ers will make a deep run in the playoffs.

Jrue is actually a good passer. It’s his concentration that needs work. I believe “Doc” Holiday, with more experience, will vastly improve his turnover-to-assist ratio. The 76ers will be the beneficiaries.

This is a player and a team on the rapid rise.

Realizing he’s one of the most rapid guards I’ve seen, I’m impressed with Holiday’s pace and change of direction this season.

To avoid getting yanked so early, though, Holiday has to get off to faster starts. His norm has been to play much better in the second half.

To that point, Holiday threw down a decisive dunk with about 3:40 left in the fourth. The smash stood his teammates up off the bench.

Spencer Hawes was snapping imaginary pictures of Jrue after the jam. The crowd was buzzing even more after the replay was shown.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 21: Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the basket while being guarded by Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center o
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Holiday’s performance after the benching was reminiscent of how he treated Washington in the preseason. It appeared Collins was grooming him as the closer. Jrue responded by offensively shutting the Wizards down in the preseason.

The Sixers are keeping their opponents down at Wells Fargo. By throttling Washington tonight, the 76ers remain unbeaten at home. Only Chicago, San Antonio and Indiana were in that group with Philly at the start of tonight’s action.

I’ll let you know after tomorrow’s action in DC if Holiday takes ball security seriously against the Wizards. Philly travels to Washington for the second of a back-to-back against the team formerly known as the Bullets.

It truly remains to be seen if Jrue, who has bullet-like quickness, will learn his lesson going forward. But, after the early yank, he didn’t commit another turnover in tonight’s game. He broke even with two assists.

The 76ers, partly as a result, responded to the loss in New York with a huge blowout win in Philadelphia. Philly, meanwhile, is off to their best home start since 2002-3. Fans should be optimistic about what the Sixers could do once Holiday gets ball security down patented.

Find Lake Cruise at Lakecruise@att.net


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