P.J. Tucker is one of the most important players in the NBA playoffs who doesn’t put up big numbers in the scoring department. Here’s the Los Angeles Times on a key member of the Houston Rockets, who currently lead the Los Angeles Lakers 1-0 in their second-round playoff series:
If the Rockets have dog inside of them, Tucker is a mastiff. Friday he scored six points but scrapped for nine rebounds against the Lakers’ bigger frontcourt. With him on the court, Houston was 16 points better than the Lakers — a Rockets best in the plus-minus rating.
The 35-year-old forward played professionally in Israel, Ukraine, Greece, Italy and Germany before finding a home in the NBA. Among coaches, he’s revered for his toughness and his awareness, a player willing to take on the toughest challenge on defense while parking in the corner on offense, ready to catch and shoot if the ball makes its way to him.
After beating the Lakers, Tucker was asked about the Rockets being small and having to body up with James and Davis, and in his answer, he delivered his mission statement.
“Yeah, I’m short. But I’m strong and I can move my feet,” he said with defiance. “And I can stay in front of anybody. I’m not going to quit. I’m going to fight every play. They’re going to score. Those guys are two of the best players of our generation — they’re going to score the ball. They’re going to score a lot of times. But we’re going to try and make it tough, try and make them work hard, and try to wear them down throughout the game.”