While James “Travel On Every Stepback” Harden and Chris “Conference Finals Virgin” Paul were out there bricking everything from three (they went a combined 4-of-19), P.J. Tucker stepped in to clean up their mess with a cool 5-of-6 from downtown and 22 points. In fact, he only made one fewer shot (8) than Harden (9) on fifteen fewer attempts.
Longtime DTB afficionados will recall that one of the greatest joys in my life is when role-players prove to be more valuable than alleged “superstars”. Now, I’m not insinuating that Tucker is more valuable overall to the Rockets than Harden, but he might have been in this game. Don’t forget that he also had more assists (4) than Harden (3 [LoL]). Not bad for a guy who scored a grand total of one point in the first game of the series, completely failing to outplay Harden, Paul, or really anybody on the roster other than, like, Ryan Anderson (RIP).
If the Rockets go on to win the series, I think that Tucker would have to get at least 1/4th of the total allocated credit given that his efforts in this game led directly to the win. And if the Rockets lose the series, he will be remembered by future people for dragging his team to at least one win in the WCF Conference Finals even though his teammates were choking and crying the entire time.
Just kidding. Future people won’t even remember that P.J. Tucker ever existed.