Holiday Styles!

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Holiday Styles!

Postby Red » November 17, 2016, 1:23 pm

Justin Holiday is emerging as this year’s Lance Thomas.

With Thomas still sidelined, bothered by a bone bruise in his left ankle and plantar fasciitis in both feet, Holiday has become a key bench piece.

No, he didn’t start the second half Wednesday as he did Monday versus the Mavericks, but he logged 24 minutes off the pine, scoring nine points with five rebounds. He also had a key tipped offensive board in the final minute with the Knicks clinging to a 104-102 lead. That tip wound up in Courtney Lee’s hands and helped save the Knicks in a 105-102 Garden victory over the Pistons.

“I was just hoping to tip it to somebody,’’ Holiday said.

It is those hustling, under-the-radar plays that have Holiday in coach Jeff Hornacek’s penthouse. He is becoming this season’s glue piece off the bench, just as Thomas was last season.


Derrick Rose played a season with Holiday in Chicago and said he always is overlooked. Holiday, who was the forgotten piece of the blockbuster deal with the Bulls that landed Rose, had started the second half Monday in a small-ball lineup with offensively challenged center Joakim Noah benched. Holiday helped ignite a second-half blowout of Dallas with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

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“He’s a pro, man,’’ Rose said. “A lot of people overlooked him. I always felt he was pro. Great for the locker room. He’s a great guy to be on the court with. He listens. He’s young. I’ve watched him ever since college [at Washington] and was a big fan of his brother [Jrue] Then, when I got to play with Justin, I was like, ‘Wow, it runs in the family.’ I’m a huge fan of Justin.’’

Hornacek has played Holiday prominently in each of the 11 games while others have bounced in and out of the rotation.

“He’s doing everything right,’’ Hornacek said. “You don’t have to tell him two, three times how to guard something. You tell him once and he does it. Of all our guys more than anybody, he’s consistently in the right spot. He’s got a nice shot. He’s been huge for us.’’

In rejuvenating the team after a sluggish first half Monday, Holiday accounted for a season-high 16 points in 22 minutes.

A few days ago, he announced he was going off Twitter, except to post Bible verses. He told The Post he did so to pray more in the unsettling aftermath of the presidential election.

Holiday also is praying for his brother, Jrue, who is to return to the Pelicans this week after taking a sabbatical to tend to his ailing wife, Lauren, a retired soccer star who underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor, and their baby girl.

Asked how it has been going, Holiday said, “My head’s been in the right place.’’
“We want to try to establish an identity. The identity has to become defense first,” Hornacek said. ...which means Melo off the bench.
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