Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday must really like facing the Bulls when Derrick Rose is not in the lineup.
Rose didn't play in the St. Patrick's Day matchup and Holiday went off for 30 points. Tuesday, Holiday broke out again with Rose out due to a torn ACL, scoring 26 points and leading the Sixers to victory in Game 2 of the first-round playoff matchup.
Holiday may have pinpointed why he plays better with Rose out of the lineup.
"My offense is generated from my defense," Holiday said. "When I play defense and I get my man and pick him up and stop him, that gives me a lot of confidence on offense."
Holiday spent a lot of time chasing Kyle Korver and Rip Hamilton around the court and shut each guy down for long periods of time. When Rose is in the game, the reigning MVP provides a much tougher defensive assignment for Holiday.
"It's unfortunate Rose is out, but we expect to play like this every game, whether Derrick is in there or not," Holiday said. "We want to come out and push just like we did."
Holiday jumped out to a blazing 11-of-12 start before missing his final three shot attempts of the game. His 26 points were a playoff career high.
The Bulls entered halftime with an eight-point lead, but Holiday led a Sixers charge to start the second half, hitting three shots in the first three minutes of the third to pull Philadelphia within three. From there, the Sixers were off and running, out-scoring the Bulls 36-14 in the third quarter.
"Jrue was spectacular," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "He got us off to a great start in that third quarter when we were down eight...He had a sensational night for us tonight."
Collins said he wants Holiday to play more like a scorer rather than a true point guard and to stay on the attack.
"When Jrue is scoring like that, the team runs better," Sixers big man Elton Brand said. "When he's hitting like that, the offense is better and it makes it easier on everybody else."
Holiday drew some comparisons to Rose in Game 2 for how he was able to basically drive to the lane and score at will.
"When he's hot, he's efficient," Evan Turner said. "He set the tone for us as our point guard."