Jrue Holiday reveals how Boston Celtics wore out Donovan Mitchell in Game 3

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Three
Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Three / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Boston Celtics didn't stick their best perimeter defenders on Donovan Mitchell during a 106-93 Game 3 win in the Eastern Conference Semifinals; with Al Horford and Sam Hauser picking up much of the slack. Ipso facto, Mitchell scored 33 points on 12/22 shooting overall and 7/12 shooting from beyond the arc.

But they kept him from going for a series-high in shot attempts and scoring even more by playing quickly with their guards and gassing him out, as Jrue Holiday explained during the postgame presser following his playoff career night in a Celtics uniform.

“I just thought about being aggressive,” Holiday said (h/t MassLive). “We know Donovan’s going to be aggressive on one side of the ball but we can make him run on the other side if he’s guarding me. There’s a lot of times where I might defer or do something (else) and I just thought maybe attacking him might get him even more exhausted by the third or fourth quarter.

“I felt like he was a little gassed. It’s hard what he’s doing. What he’s doing is elite to put up that many points that efficiently and we’re making it tough on him. If it’s not me then it’s D-White. If it’s not D-White it’s JB. And then we’ve got Al protecting the paint and JT protecting the paint. So it’s definitely a team effort, but I think to do it how he’s doing it, it’s hard.”

Boston Celtics making Cavs role players beat them in Eastern Conference Semifinals

Mitchell is the main beacon of hope for Cleveland in the postseason and in general. The Cavs go as he goes. To a (far) lesser degree, that is the case with Evan Mobley and Darius Garland, though the latter has been a nearly $200 million disappointment in this series. And if we're being honest, the entire playoffs.

What Boston has done has challenged Cleveland's roster outside of those guys to beat them. Caris LeVert stepped up in Game 2 with a 21-point performance and once again buoyed the bench in Game 3. Outside of him, though, there's been little second-unit production.

If this continues, this series will last as long as the C's short-lived first-round showdown with the Miami Heat.