July 10, 2021
Q. We were talking to Jrue about, and you can relate, the playing two sides of the floor and how he's being asked to do a lot defensively and Coach wants him to be more aggressive offensively. With defense being your specialty, what needs to change in Game 3 collectively?
P.J. TUCKER: I think it's making adjustments to how they are playing and what we like doing. A lot of time our game plan doesn't really change a whole lot, just tweaks, and from game-in, game-out, every series, every game is little tweaks we make that's a big difference, and it's going out and executing the stuff we've put in.
They have shot the ball amazing. You have to give them credit. They really shot the ball well in Game 2. Everybody else shot it well outside of Chris and Devin. It's on us to be able to square the ball up, be physical and really making it a little bit tougher.
But you know, for Jrue, playing both sides, we definitely need him to be more aggressive, as aggressive as possible, because when he's playing like that, it kind of unlocks everything else for our team. But he's capable; it's what he does.
Q. How much are you using the second round experience being down 0-2 against Brooklyn, coming back? Is that something you draw upon now or is it two totally separate things?
P.J. TUCKER: Yeah, you don't -- like that's so far behind us. Like it's -- I don't know. You don't really draw anything from that because it's not the same series. Different players, different teams, for a long Finals. It's totally different. For a team, I think it's just that mindset of knowing that they took care of business at home, and now we are back home for two and now it's time for us to do the same.
In a sense, yeah, a little bit but it's two totally different series.
Q. You've known Chris Paul a long time. What's the difference being a teammate and going up against him, how much he demands?
P.J. TUCKER: I don't know. Honestly, I think it's like that with all players, right. We all play with each other forever, known each other. It's using experiences as players, knowing what guys like, and their mindset going into games and what they are doing and telling those guys and being on your team and being able to be like, this is what they’re doing it, and this is what they’re going to attack and do this and that.
For me, I think it just the experience of being an NBA player knowing guys, period.
Q. When you were his teammate, obviously he has very high expectations. How do you, not necessarily live up to that, but make sure you're working hard enough to hold up your end when you are his teammate?
P.J. TUCKER: I think it's the same as playing with Giannis. Giannis has very high expectations of everybody. Everybody should have the same high expectations. I guess no one more than the other. All-Star players, guys, they need their role guys to do their job. They need me to play defense. They need me to knock down corner shots. They need me to be aggressive, leader, talk. All that stuff goes into being a champion on all levels, no matter what team you're on, you know what I'm saying. So, I think it's all the same.
Q. We talked about the idea that because you've been to the edge of the NBA life in Phoenix, you even thought about hanging them up and the idea that you only want to do this at this kind of a level. When you were in Houston, and your future is uncertain and you have a voice when it comes to where you might land next, what was the perspective on this group? What were the relationships with the people here that might have played a part, and just why did you feel good about getting sent out here?
P.J. TUCKER: Fifteen years, knowing me, knowing guys that have been here, everybody pointing this direction, it just made sense. It was perfect. We knew it was perfect from the beginning.
To say I saw this is kind of an understatement because this is what we talked about even while I was in Houston getting ready to leave, me and my team, just knowing that this was the landing spot and that I came here, we would be a chance to be where we are right now.
Q. Do you think in the last game the team made some unnecessary defensive helps that allowed Phoenix to get some open shots?
P.J. TUCKER: Yeah, definitely. We had some shifts, guys just trying to be active off the ball, trying to help a little bit with Devin and Chris coming off, being aggressive, guys just trying to show bodies. They did a good job knocking down shots. All the other guys, Jae Crowder, Bridges, they all did a really good job of making us pay when we helped. It was definitely something that hurt us a little.
Q. Can you take me back to your experience in Italy, and what makes Jrue Holiday a good defender, a great defender, from a great defender to another?
P.J. TUCKER: Jrue Holiday is a good defender because he's relentless. He's always, always moving. Always reading plays, sniffing plays out. His pursuit is incredible. He's probably -- definitely he's the best I've seen and been around, and he's just natural -- he's just naturally a good defender.
And Italy, I ate some really good food in Italy, I know that (laughter). The food was amazing, and shopping, you know, and shopping; so I spent a lot of money while I was there. That's the two things I remember most. And it was good basketball. The league was amazing. I had a great time.
Q. What are you most proud of when it comes to how you've taken care of your body and the sacrifices you have made that has led you to this point in your career competing on this NBA Finals stage?
P.J. TUCKER: That's funny. That's an interesting question because like so many people said I couldn't play the way I play for long. That was like the No. 1 thing I heard every time it was like contract time. It was like, oh, you can't do that for long. And so to be 15 years in and still be doing the same stuff, be the same me, is kind of something I hang my hat on, being able to be me. It means a lot, and to be able to be on this stage and to be able to keep doing that is amazing. Shout out to all my trainers and everybody that helps me stay together, I guess.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports