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May 16, 2018

James Harden

P.J. Tucker

Houston, Texas: Game Two

Q. Was it a concerted effort to be more aggressive today, or was it just how the game worked out?
P.J. TUCKER: Yeah, obviously, offensively we want to be more aggressive. Obviously, the focus wasn't on offense at all. I never worry about my offense. James and Chris [Paul] are such playmakers. If we play right and do the things we're supposed to do on defense, we're going to score points. It's all on defense. We get stops, we'll be able to run. It changes the game, and it changes the way we play. We know that, so the focus is never offense.

Q. James, Mike D'Antoni was saying you guys bodied them up tonight. Got into them a lot more. How much more physical, aggressive did just the overall effort, that you said your team needed to increase tonight, feel compared to Game 1?
JAMES HARDEN: The first game we were at a 70. Tonight we're at a 95. We were pretty aggressive defensively. That allowed us to get out in transition. So if we're comfortable and sit back and allow them to get to their spots and run around freely, they're going to pick us apart. But if we get to them and try to make it tougher on them, good things will happen for us.

Q. P.J., I know you've known Chris for 20 years. Some of the greatest plays in this game were made on passes where he found you in your sweet spot. Can you talk about the chemistry you have with him and how well you know each other and play with each other?
P.J. TUCKER: I have zero chemistry with Chris. We have never played together. So we have zero chemistry. We're just figuring it out just like everybody else, man. Just like me and James. Just like everybody else. I love everybody talking about that story now. It's so funny because we've never played together.

We have great chemistry, though, now. He's such a great passer. He has good chemistry with everybody. He just can find people. He sees the game so well. He's a great point guard. So it's not hard to have chemistry with him.

Q. You guys went earlier and played longer with the small lineup. How do you feel about matching up with that lineup with the Warriors?
P.J. TUCKER: That's our finishing lineup. I love that lineup. I get to go to the five. I love doing it no matter who we're playing because I get to take the defense and be the anchor and be able to talk and fix stuff. We get to kind of make other teams go small and have to play the same lineup. We feel like our small lineup is the best. We get what we want on offense and on defense they switch everything. We have guys getting up. We love our lineup.

Q. After Monday night's game and even yesterday, you guys talked about how it's just doing what you do, executing and being better at it. After tonight, Steph Curry sounded just like you guys did. That basically this is going to be a chess match whoever can play their game the best. Is that what we should expect from the series?
JAMES HARDEN: I wouldn't call it a chess match. I would just say we have to refocus on what we're supposed to do. We don't really worry about who we're playing against. If we come out and be some dogs and do what we did tonight, it doesn't matter. But if we don't, then we see the results in Game 1. So it's not about chess match or what they're doing. It's about us.

Q. P.J., you've become excellent at corner threes. Do you have an example of point in this season when you got really comfortable with them? When you could feel like it was clicking and it was going to become a really big part of your game?
P.J. TUCKER: I've been shooting corner threes for a while. I don't try to like want to shoot corner threes. It's just the spacing on the floor. James and Chris, when they break people down and get in the pick-and-roll with Clint, it's just spacing the floor. You're either going to tag on the big rolling double James or you're going to get an open corner three. The space on the floor is in the corner.

Obviously, that's where I'm at. You want to be able to knock those shots down. So they always make great decisions and find me. I just want to make them.

Q. James, after the three losses you've had in the playoffs, you've come back with really good games the next night. Have losses maybe refocused this team in the postseason?
JAMES HARDEN: I think so. You look back at that Utah series, we lose Game 2 and take our focus to another level and have a pretty good game in Game 3, and get greedy and win Game 4.

So the same thing happened. We knew how difficult it was going to be, but we didn't come out [against the Warriors] with the approach of it being that difficult, in the sense that we lost Game 1. We had that mindset tonight, after the loss, to be the aggressor. We have to keep that same mentality in Game 3, and no matter where we are. If we have that mindset, we're in good hands.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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