Dan Woike asked NBA players to tell us about the best game in their basketball career. This week: P.J. Tucker
May 24, 2018: Game 5 of the Western Conference finals
Houston Rockets 98, Golden State Warriors 94
42 minutes, 8 points, 9 rebounds, game-best plus-14 rating
“What do you mean by best? Is it numbers?” asked P.J. Tucker, who has become one of the NBA’s best role players, a brickhouse on defense and a knock-down three-point shooter from the corners. He fittingly defined his “best” as the best moment he felt as a player. The high was followed by two losses, but they didn’t spoil the memory.
“It was Game 5, beating the Warriors. We had won three and had to just win one out of the last two. The energy of our team … I just had never been around a team that was so complete with everything and every piece and everyone hitting on all cylinders. It was just this feeling of a real team and camaraderie. More than anything, just that feeling of a team, I’ve never felt anything like that playing basketball. I don’t remember how my game even was. That’s how I know. I don’t remember my numbers — and it doesn’t matter. How we were as a team? That’s all that matters. I don’t remember who had a good game, who played well or who played bad. I don’t remember any of that. We won. It’s that feeling, as a player who wants to win and be a leader, that kind of stuff … It’s the hardest thing in the world to get that.”