The New Orleans Pelicans have put themselves in a terrific position to reach the second round of the playoffs after securing back-to-back road wins over the Portland Trail Blazers to take a 2-0 series lead.
They followed up a narrow victory in game one with a 111-102 win at the Moda Center in game two on Tuesday night.
Jrue Holiday was the influential figure for the Pelicans as he posted a playoff career-high of 33 points on 14-of-24 shooting as well as dishing nine assists.
The shooting guard has arguably been the best player in the series so far and has had a huge impact on both ends of the floor.
He has been tasked with guarding Portland's talented backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum and has done a great job of nullifying them over the two games.
According to his head coach Alvin Gentry, there isn't a better two-way player in the NBA at the moment.
"I may be a bit biased, but if you can tell me a better two-way player in the league right now, I'm willing to listen," Gentry told reporters after the game, per ESPN's Mark Schwarz.
"But what we ask him to do and the things we ask him to do offensively, he was just great tonight."
Lillard finished with just 17 points on the night and hasn't shot the ball well in their two losses, which is a testament to the defence Holiday has been playing on him.
As the primary defender on the Blazers point guard, the experienced New Orleans man held Lillard to 0-for-4 shooting, zero points and two turnovers in game two.
The Portland All-Star is now 0-for-8, and the Trail Blazers players are a combined 6-for-24 (25 percent) when guarded by Holiday in the series.
To his credit, Lillard was quick to acknowledge the work his counterpart has done in the series so far.
"He's impacting the game on both ends of the floor," Lillard said.
"In my opinion, I think he's one of the best defenders out there on the perimeter. He's just playing well. He's big and crafty. He's impacting the game on both ends of the floor."
Teammate Rajon Rondo was also full of praise for the 27-year-old veteran and explained how he knows what it's like going up against him.
"He's a helluva player -- especially both ways," said Rondo. "I get better as a player offensively when he checks me in practice."
The first-round series will now switch to the Big Easy where the Pels will enjoy two home games, starting with game three on Thursday night.
Nobody expected the Louisiana-based franchise to even make the playoffs when they lost DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending injury, but they've defied the odds and are now closing in on a spot in the Western Conference semi-finals.
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