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This Is The Celtics X Factor In Their Championship Push

When the Celtics fell short of a finals appearance in 2023, they ended up trading for Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis in the off-season. So far, the 2024 Celtics look like the clear favorites in the East, largely due to Jrue Holiday and Porzingis. Jrue Holiday has taken more of a secondary role, allowing other players to thrive. Here's why he's the X Factor.

Secondary Scoring

When Jrue Holiday originally came to the Celtics, it was expected he was going to take a step back, and he's done that terrifically. Holiday is an amazing veteran presence, and his sacrifice, allowing Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to take on the offensive load, is allowing the Celtics to be the number-one-rated team in the league. 

Holiday has served in a secondary role, and he's thrived in it. While averaging 13 points, Holiday is shooting a career-high 45% from three and an NBA-leading percentage on corner threes. Holiday is an NBA champion and an All-star, yet the fourth option on the Celtics shows why Boston has such a lethal offense. Holiday's production in the playoffs could make or break their chances. 

Teams automatically send extra help on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, allowing other players in Boston to have open looks. If Holiday continues to be as efficient as he is on open attempts, the Celtics are an incredibly tough team to beat.

Defensive Ability

Holiday is an all-defensive talent and consistently one of the best defensive players in the league, and Joe Mazzulla has dived into that. Mazzulla has given Holiday more freedom on the defensive end, allowing him to roam and even guard opposing centers at times.

Jrue's counterpart on the backcourt is also an all-defensive caliber player Derrick White. Jrue's ability to play free safety and consistently play elite defense on opposing guards is going to be a huge advantage in the East. Especially, when Boston is likely to face players like Tyrese Maxey, Damian Lillard, and Jalen Brunson.

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