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If it looks like the normally low-key Jrue Holiday has been having the time of his life in the NBA playoffs – from interacting with fans after big shots to Kyle Van Noy Jersey , in one instance, mocking an opponent who’d been dunked on – the Pelicans’ guard offers an explanation.

”I’m in a really good place. Everything in my life is pretty good – family, basketball, financially,” Holiday began after practice this week, as the Pelicans prepared for a second-round playoff match-up with Golden State.

”I got a bonus this year, so that’s awesome,” Holiday added, drawing some chuckles as he referred to his whopping, five-year, $126 million contract last offseason. ”I mean, yeah. I feel pretty good.”

Once upon a time, Holiday was a young Eastern Conference All-Star guard with Philadelphia who seemed to possess a world of potential. A draft-day trade in 2013 paired him with emerging star big man Anthony Davis in New Orleans, but during the next four years, one thing or another conspired against him.

During his first season with the Pelicans, he developed a stress fracture in his lower leg that required surgery, but one of the screws used to repair the fracture became an irritant, forcing additional procedures. That wiped out much of his first two seasons. He returned on minute restrictions in his third season and showed promise, only to have that campaign cut short by a fluky eye injury caused by an inadvertent elbow to the head.

Holiday was finally healthy heading into his fourth season in New Orleans – but his wife Jimmie Ward Jersey , former U.S. Soccer star Lauren Holiday, was not. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor while pregnant with the couple’s first child, and Holiday took an extended leave of absence to attend to family.

Now the 6-foot-4 Holiday looks reinvigorated by a recent convergence of positive trends in his life.

In addition to being content with his family life and career trajectory, he’s also about as healthy as he’s been in half a decade, and his team is in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Now he can focus purely on winning and being as feisty as it takes to do so.

”I always feel like I’m aggressive, but (playoff) games are a little different where you can key in on a certain team and be able to study them for a long time because you know you have at least four games,” Holiday explained. ”Mentally, just locking in to the matchup or the schemes or whatever it is, brings out a little more intensity.”

Holiday was a big reason the sixth-seeded Pelicans swept third-seeded Portland in the first round of the postseason. He scored 33 points in Game 2 and 41 points in the clinching Game 4. His performances have been dynamic. He’s made big perimeter shots, such as his late 3-pointer in Game 4, and he’s been a strong finisher at the rim. He shot about 57 percent for the series.

Defensively, he helped hold Portland All-Star guard Damian Lillard in check and came up with pivotal, late-game steals or blocks.

”I know what type of player he’s been since he’s been here, but I think this has been a great year for him,” Davis said. ”People are really starting to notice.”

Davis and fellow teammates have been particularly amused by the transformation of Holiday’s on-court persona, and won’t say a word to discourage it.

Holiday has rarely been all that animated on the court or much of a trash talker. But against Portland his gesticulations – or his eagerness to sprint into scuffles after a hard foul- were impossible to miss.

”I have no idea where that came from, talking smack to the fans. I’ve never seen it,” Davis said. ”I love it. If he can keep getting 40 for us then I’ll make him mad every game.

On a more serious note, Davis added Demetri Goodson Jersey , ”I think everybody just recognized the type of team that we have and realized that we can be something special, so it just brings a lot out in everybody.”

Veteran guard Rajon Rondo, long known to exchange verbal barbs with opponents, grinned when he recalled Holiday pointing at Jusuf Nurkic after Davis had dunked on the Portland center in Game 3.

”It’s just a different side of him. He’s playing with a lot of rage,” Rondo said. ”He’s overlooked a lot. What he’s doing now, the world’s finally seeing the real Jrue Holiday and I love every minute of it.

”He’s still a smooth player,” Rondo continued. ”But when he has a mentality of attacking and no one can stay in front of him and he can score against anyone, I think that’s when we’re at our best.”



Frank Reich might not have been the Indianapolis Colts‘ first choice as head coach.

Turns out, he might be the better fit anyway.

Just three days into training camp, the 56-year-old former quarterback has injected energy, enthusiasm and excitement into a team desperately needing to change directions after three straight seasons of missing the playoffs.

”I think he brings a really neat perspective,” Andrew Luck said this week. ”He’s certainly had an amazing career as a player and has done an amazing job as a coach. I’ve really enjoyed talking to him, learning from him, talking with him and figuring out what the best course of action is in many different arenas.”

The new tandem is just getting started.

Throughout the first two public workouts in suburban Indianapolis, Luck and Reich have been conversing regularly as Luck learns his fourth offense in seven pro seasons.

But Reich does more than just talk.

He’s innovative, passionate and personable, and players seem to respect the unique journey Reich took to his first head coaching gig.

After graduating from Maryland, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and joined a cast of future Hall of Famers while playing for the only team to appear in four straight Super Bowls.

His coaching career began when another Hall of Famer, Tony Dungy Jerry Rice Jersey , hired Reich as an intern with the Colts in 2006. Peyton Manning earned his first championship ring that season, though Reich did not receive one.

In 2009, Reich was promoted to quarterbacks coach as Manning captured his fourth MVP Award, led the Colts to a 14-0 start and another AFC title.

Then after stints in Arizona and San Diego where he worked directly with Larry Fitzgerald and Philip Rivers, Reich was named the Philadelphia Eagles‘ offensive coordinator in 2016 and finally picked up the elusive ring when Nick Foles beat New England in February.

Not enough?

Even before he replaced injured Bills quarterback Jim Kelly in the 1992 playoffs and overcame a 32-point deficit to complete the largest comeback in NFL history, Reich threw three second-half TD passes in relief of Stan Gelbaugh and led the Terrapins back from a 31-poinnt deficit to beat highly-ranked Miami in 1984. At the time, it was the largest comeback in major college football history and still ranks No. 3.

”The backup role has suited me well in my career,” Reich joked at his introductory news conference in February.

The Colts are counting on him to do it again, this time in the family tradition.

His father was a football coach, his mother coached sports and his brother, Joe, is entering his 18th season as head coach at Division II Wingate University in North Carolina.

And Reich may need all of his expertise to turn things around in Indy.

He inherits a young roster that has more questions than answers, a team the outside world believes will be among the worst in the league and one that was spurned by its top coaching choice, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, shortly after the Patriots season-ending loss.

So instead of McDaniels, general manager Chris Ballard brought in a reigning champion who understood the organization, who helped Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz put himself in the MVP conversation in just his second NFL season and who refused to take a single interview until Philadelphia’s season was over.

He didn’t care what the critics said then about the Colts, and he doesn’t care now.

”I see and hear the chatter, but we don’t focus too much on that Alex Cappa Jersey ,” he said, referring to one projection of a two-win season. ”That is, I guess, a little bulletin board material, but for the most part, it’s about believing in one another. I’ve seen what we’ve done. I’ve seen the kind of players we have. I just have a lot of confidence in who we have here.”

The players like what they have in this coach, too.

Reich, for instance, remembers what it’s like to play the game and can provide perspective and stories about his own NFL experiences including a surgical procedure he had on his shoulder following his retirement in 1998 that was similar to what Luck endured in January 2017.

”He certainly is a sounding board for all of us quarterbacks,” Luck said. ”I think he’s also a great teacher. The best coaches have always been the best teachers. He does a fantastic job of that.”

Reich’s frank, succinct assessments have been a big hit, too.

He’s made no secret of his personal expectations: The Colts must work hard, be prepared, play with discipline and finish games. He also encourages players to be themselves, a combination that led free agent tight end Eric Ebron to Indianapolis and could bring more help to Indy in the future.

”Frank is just Frank, he always just keeps it real,” Ebron said. ”That’s what I like about him.”



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