Holiday turns the tide of Game 2


Holiday turns the tide of Game 2

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."

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”