Rivers on Holiday: 'He's an All-Star player'
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Boston coach Doc Rivers said Friday night what a great many people believe, when asked to assess the strong start this season by 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday.
“He’s an All-Star player,” Rivers said before the Celtics lost 95-94 to the Sixers in overtime (see story)
Holiday generated 15 points and four assists before fouling out 58 seconds into the extra period. But he began the night averaging career highs of 18.2 points and 9.3 assists, numbers that ranked 20th and third in the league, respectively. Only three point guards – Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (20.9), Portland’s Damian Lillard (19.3) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (19.1) – were scoring at a heftier clip, and San Antonio’s Tony Parker had an identical norm.
Holiday also began the night averaging 38.1 minutes a game, seventh-most in the league. He played just over 43 against Boston.
That underscores something else Rivers said.
“He’s a tough kid,” he said. “He comes to compete every night.”
And, Rivers added, the 22-year-old Holiday is noticeably stronger than in his first three seasons.
All of that, Holiday said after the game, “means a lot coming from him. I think he knows All-Star-caliber talent when he sees it. I think him saying that means I’m doing something right.”
Holiday also said that making an All-Star team is “definitely the next step” in his development.
“That’s definitely something that I’d love to have under my belt, (and) put on my resume,” he said. “I think every NBA player wants to be an All-Star, so just knowing that other coaches see that is an honor.”
This season’s All-Star Game will be played Feb. 17 in Houston. There’s a great deal to be decided between now and then, beginning with a Sixers-Celtics rematch Saturday night in Boston.
“I fouled out, so I kind of want to redeem myself,” Holiday said. “I hate fouling out. … I want to be in the game all the time, especially at the end of the game.”Gordie Jones is an award-winning journalist who has worked in the Philadelphia market since 1981. He covered Penn State from 1984-2003 for the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal and co-authored a book about the 76ers' 1982-83 championship team with former Sixers general manager Pat Williams, which will be re-released by Skyhorse Publishing in the fall of 2013.