Bucks' P.J. Tucker's Game 4 Defense Was 'Borderline Non-Basketball,' Steve Nash Says

Blake SchusterContributor IJune 13, 2021

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The Brooklyn Nets don't seem too pleased with the way P.J. Tucker has been guarding them, which is probably a great sign for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Following the Bucks' 107-96 victory Sunday to even the Eastern Conference Semifinals at 2-2, Brooklyn head coach Steve Nash called Tucker's defense "borderline non-basketball physical at times" as the forward continues to use his 6'5", 245-pound frame to frustrate the Nets.

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Steve Nash on P.J. Tucker's defense: "He’s playing extremely physical and made it difficult. That’s his role on their team. I thought it was borderline non-basketball physical at times, but that’s the playoffs. You have to adapt and adjust."

Tucker finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and one assist Sunday while posting a plus/minus of plus-14.

While Sunday's performance accounted for the most points Tucker has scored in a single game this postseason, the Nets' frustration with him began well before Game 4.

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Lockdown D and corner threes from P.J:<br><br>13 PTS | 7 REB | 1 AST | 3/6 3PT pic.twitter.com/Y5faa0QChi

The former Houston Rocket has been tussling with Brooklyn's Kevin Durant all series. It's an interesting dynamic considering Durant and Tucker—both Texas alums—have a good relationship off the court, but their recent play goes to show how quickly that friendship has been put aside.

Game 3 saw the two scuffle after the whistle, leading to Durant's personal bodyguard running onto the floor to shove Tucker out of the way—the guard has since been banned from working postseason games in Milwaukee and will not be assigned to the court for any games in Brooklyn throughout the remainder of the series.

"I love that guy to death," Tucker told ESPN's Rachel Nichols about Durant. "But for these 48 minutes, he's the guy trying to stop me from being a champion."

As far as the Bucks are concerned, Tucker is delivering on everything they hoped for when the team acquired him and Rodions Kurucs from Houston in March for D.J. Augustin, D.J. Wilson and a swap of draft picks.

"He's a beast," Giannis Antetokounmpo said of Tucker after Game 4. "He makes everything tough on KD. He's vocal, he's a leader, he pushes us to be great. He's definitely a big piece of this organization and this team, and he's going to keep helping us."

As long as Tucker continues to keep Durant from single-handedly beating the Bucks, Milwaukee won't mind if Brooklyn detests the way he attacks the game.


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