Jrue Holiday may regret giving Nikola Mirotic a wine-based incentive this season

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Jrue Holiday promised New Orleans Pelicans teammate Nikola Mirotic a bottle of wine for every 30-point game this year. (AP)
Jrue Holiday promised New Orleans Pelicans teammate Nikola Mirotic a bottle of wine for every 30-point game this year. (AP)

After Nikola Mirotic dropped 30 points in a season-opening win over the Houston Rockets — a feat the forward matched just once last regular season — New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday pledged to buy his Montenegrin-Spanish teammate a bottle of wine every time he hits that mark going forward.

Mirotic responded by scoring a career-high 36 points in Friday’s victory against the Sacramento Kings.

“I guess I owe him a bottle,” Holiday said afterward, according to The Times-Picayune’s Andrew Lopez, before the former All-Star lamented his bet: “I don’t even drink. I don’t even know what to get him.”

True to his word, Holiday had a bottle of wine waiting for Mirotic in his locker on Sunday.

Jrue Holiday did wind up getting Nikola Mirotic that red bottle of wine!

Posted by The Bird Writes on Sunday, October 21, 2018

“That the first thing I looked at this morning,” the 27-year-old Mirotic told reporters at Sunday’s practice, via Lopez. “I had a FaceTime call yesterday asking me what I liked more, red or white. I said red. So, he did bring me the wine. I have to try it. … Hopefully there will be more this year.”

It took a few weeks for Mirotic to find himself in New Orleans after his February trade from the Chicago Bulls — a deal that was preceded by a punch to the face from former teammate Bobby Portis that cost him the first six weeks of last season — but he’s been riding the groove he found ever since.

Over the final five games of last regular season, Mirotic averaged 26 points on 56/47/100 splits to help the Pelicans to a five-game win streak that pushed them from Western Conference also-ran to No. 6 seed. Thriving as a rangy shooter in the space that all-world frontcourt mate Anthony Davis provided, Mirotic scored a playoff career-high 30 points in a Game 3 win en route to New Orleans’ first-round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers. Mirotic had his ups and downs in the second-round series against the Golden State Warriors, as does most anyone in the NBA, but he emerged with a 3-point percentage of 40 on five attempts per game and a double-double in New Orleans’ only win of the five-game set.

Mirotic has looked comfortable after spending a full training camp with the Pelicans, and his scoring prowess could pay forward the benefits that Davis has afforded him. He won’t sustain the 65 percent clip (11-for-17) he’s held from 3-point range through two games, but the threat of a more efficient Mirotic, who entered this season shooting a slightly above-average 35.7 percent from distance for his career, will make opponents think twice about helping onto Davis, which spells trouble just the same.

That could also create problems for Holiday, who will have to make a few more stops at the wine shop than he anticipated this season. Holiday’s task is made even more difficult by Mirotic’s taste in wine:

Holiday settled on a 2014 vintage of McEvoy Ranch Montepulciano, which costs $35 a bottle from the winery in Marin County, California. The wine has a four-star rating from Vivino.com. The good news for Holiday is that, even if Mirotic has expensive taste, he can afford it. The point guard signed a five-year, $132 million contract extension with the Pelicans in July 2017 — roughly nine times Mirotic’s contract.

Maybe pony up for a top-shelf bottle if Mirotic drops 40 on the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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