Milwaukee Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday told NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski that he still suffers from “PTSD” more than a year after his team’s game 7 playoff loss to the Brooklyn Nets in June 2021.
The 2021 Nets-Bucks series was one of the most memorable playoff series in the modern era of the NBA. Kevin Durant averaged 35.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game to help the Nets advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite his historic play, the Nets fell short to the Bucks by a literal inch as Durant made what appeared to be a go-ahead three-pointer but instead was later ruled a game-tying two-pointer with the tip of Durant’s shoe touching the line.
That’s it. That’s how close the Nets were to advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. And the loss left its mark on Holiday.
Jrue Holiday: ‘It Took Years Off My Life’
“That Brooklyn series and what Durant was doing, have you ever quite been tested like you were tested?” Wojnarowski asked Holiday on the January 9 episode of “The Woj Pod.”
“It took years off my life. … Every time I feel like we stepped into Barclays, it’s like PTSD. At least for me personally, every time I step in, I get this like this exciting feeling but, at the same time, a little bit of nervousness. Which, like I’m not the type to get nervous playing basketball,” Holiday answered.
“I’ve done it my whole life. But that series took so much out of me personally. The way that KD was just willing his team and putting them on his back. … Like it doesn’t give me nightmares because we won, but I still see it all the time.”
Holiday said the events surrounding Kyrie Irving’s ankle injury in game 4 were part of what made this “one of the greatest series.”
“To me, that was one of the greatest series for one that I’ve ever been a part of. Like to go down, to go to game seven, people were hitting big shots. Kyrie goes down. James comes back. Like everything about it to me was like, ‘This is like a movie.’ It took a physical and emotional toll,” Holiday said.
And he noted that the playoffs outcome could have been different if Durant had a slightly smaller foot.
“Every time we look back and talk about that series, it’s like, ‘Do you realize what happened? Like if KD wore a size 15 shoe, this could all be different.’ I mean, his big toe was on the line when he hit that two-pointer. So it’s like, yeah, when you look back on it you have to appreciate it,” Holiday said.
Nets Playoff Push Coming This Season
Before the season, Brooklyn’s second-year center Day’Ron Sharpe made a bold suggestion that the Nets would win the 2022-23 NBA Championship. At the time, the Nets were coming off of a messy offseason and rocky start of the season before firing their head coach Steve Nash. Since Jacque Vaughn took over on November 1, the Nets have a 25-8 record and have climbed into second place in the Eastern Conference.
However, the momentum the Nets have built recently is now in question after the January 8 injury to Durant. On January 10, they got the potentially good news that his timetable for returning from the injury may be only a month. How the Nets respond in his absence will be seen for the first time in their January 12 matchup against the first-place Boston Celtics. If Brooklyn can maintain this level of play in Durant’s absence, then Sharpe’s bold prediction has the chance to become a reality.