Jrue Holiday on Alley-Oop to Giannis: 'They Don’t Call Him the Freak for Nothing'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 18, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, top, celebrates with guard Jrue Holiday (21) after the Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals, Saturday, July 17, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Jrue Holiday's jaw-dropping alley-oop to Giannis Antetokounmpo late in the fourth quarter of Saturday's Game 5 123-119 win over the Phoenix Suns was one of the gutsiest plays in NBA Finals history.

When asked if he was nervous about throwing such a risky pass with the game on the line, Holiday said he trusted the Greek Freak could get the ball anywhere he threw it.

"Giannis took off and he was calling for the ball," Holiday told reporters. "So at that point, I just threw it as high as I could and only where Giannis could go get it. He went up there [and] got it. They don't call him the Freak for nothing. I threw it as high as I could."

The thunderous oop sealed the Bucks' victory, giving them a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and putting them on the precipice of the franchise's first title since 1971.

"The pass was all about trust," Antetokounmpo told reporters. "Obviously, he could have pulled the ball out, let the clock run and get a good shot. But he trusted me, threw the ball out there, and we were able to get a bucket."

Holiday, maligned at times during this playoff run for disappointing shooting performances, was a two-way force Saturday. He had 27 points, 13 assists and three steals, with his final swipe coming on a Devin Booker drive to help set up the oop to Antetokounmpo.

The iconic two-way play was quintessential Holiday, showing in one five-second span why the Bucks sent a massive draft pick haul to New Orleans for him in the offseason. While some questioned the move at the time, the Bucks are one victory away from quieting the doubters once and for all.