Doc Rivers singles out PJ Tucker as the key for Sixers’ success in big games
MIAMI — The Philadelphia 76ers brought in PJ Tucker at the start of free agency in the offseason. They signed the 37-year-old veteran to a 3-year, $33 million deal to help them get over the top.
Tucker’s numbers are not all that impressive in his first season with the Sixers. He’s averaging 3.5 points and 4 rebounds, but he’s shooting 40.2% from deep as he continues to knock down those corner 3s. He has made a difference in big games.
Two contests that come to mind are a win over the Denver Nuggets in January and a win over the Milwaukee Bucks in November. Tucker’s defense against Nuggets star Nikola Jokic and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo in both games was hugely important, and there’s a reason why Tucker stands out in bigger games.
“I do think there is something to that,” said coach Doc Rivers before a win over the Miami Heat on March 1. “I think they’re bigger games and that’s why you have PJ. He’s tough. The good teams are all tough. The good teams are serious, they’re physical, they play hard, they execute, and PJ is great in those games, so I do think there’s something to that.”
Tucker continues to shine brightly in the bigger matchups for Philadelphia and that bodes well for when the team reaches the playoffs. That is where he is going to help the Sixers the most. His voice and his leadership are large in moments like those.
“Teams that talk, man, it’s just so important defensively,” Rivers added. “It just eliminates all mistakes. You don’t have switching mistakes, you don’t have transition D mistakes when guys are hitting 3s, and that’s where as a team, we have to grow.”
Sixers president Daryl Morey calls out MVP voters in support of Joel Embiid
Sixers' Joel Embiid gives thoughts on MVP after another huge performance
Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves impressed with Sixers' Joel Embiid