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July 13, 2021

P.J. Tucker

Milwaukee Bucks

Practice Day

Q. I understand this is similar to asking about slowing down Kevin Durant, but Chris Paul in the pick-and-roll is probably the best in the league. For you guys, how do you try to make it more difficult on him when he is kind of so good at manipulating things?

P.J. TUCKER: Just not doing the same thing every time, knowing personnel, where we're at, who's setting the screen, who's weak side, who's strong side. So much goes along the lines of pick-and-roll defense, and it's never the same. No two pick-and-rolls are the same. There are always different people in it, so it's just deciphering that and making the right decisions and calls at the point of the screen, whether it's going over or under, knowing the spacing on the floor.

I can go on forever. It's a lot. That's what makes it tough.

Q. So often they put Devin in the weak side corner so you guys can't really help, so it really does turn it into a two-man game. How do you try to counter that? I know it just means maybe staying a little bit tighter or maybe not helping as much, but if it is two guys that got to handle it, it gets tough.

P.J. TUCKER: Yeah, but depends who the two guys are. Like I said even having Booker in the corner, he's still got to be in, show bodies, make the paint look packed. And it's hard. It's hard to be able to go from being in and closing out on him, maybe the ball is coming, maybe he's going to attack, squaring him up, sending him to the next pick-and-roll.

Is that a switch, is that a wing coverage. It's a lot, and it's fast. You've got to make quick decisions really fast. That's what makes winning hard.

Q. Would I be right in saying that CP and Devin are more comfortable in the final five seconds of the shot clock than most people? It feels like they can go to a couple different actions and they will run their stuff until like the very bitter end.

P.J. TUCKER: Yeah, I mean, I guess you could say that. I guess that's what makes them the way they are, why they're good players. Most good players are like that. They get to their shot, any time get to the basket, pull up, whatever, they can score. So, any player like that, it's tough.

Q. I'm switching gears a little bit. The Brooklyn Game 7, you had a lot of Greek fans there because of the Antetokounmpos. Did you notice, was it a presence? I don't know on TV that we could tell, but when you were there could you feel them, because obviously everyone else was rooting for the Nets?

P.J. TUCKER: On the road, I have no idea. It's so loud, and this year has been crazy. Fans finally came back in arenas. Every series has been crazy on the road. I don't know. Like I assume everybody is against us when we're on the road, so I didn't know.

Q. The other part of that is the NBA has a huge international following, and you have an appreciation for overseas basketball. How do you know that here? Do you have any fans reach out to you from across the country? Do you have any stories? I don't think you have a lot of social media stuff. But you do have fans. How do you hear from them?

P.J. TUCKER: Yeah, I do. China is like incredible. I'll go to China every summer and it's like insane. You go over there and like people -- I think people know me more especially over there. Everywhere we go it's like crazy, insane. So I always enjoy going to China every summer two or three times, and excited to go back again because that is always a really good time, and the fans there are amazing.

Q. Why do you go to, just to visit?

P.J. TUCKER: Yeah, I have events and shoe stuff, and like it's a lot. It's a huge sneaker culture there, and they love it. It's pretty cool.

Q. Talking about Chris Paul, I know you guys are both North Carolina guys. Growing up together I'm sure you had AAU battles against each other. What do you remember about those days, and now what's it like now on the biggest stage competing against a guy that you've known so long and been teammates with, competing on this big stage?

P.J. TUCKER: Just dreaming. Back then it was just the dream of being able to do this -- when you're kids, your entire life is all based on that, wanting to be here in these moments and be able to fight for a championship and truly have a chance, and making it.

When you're a kid, in your head you think it's automatic. It's like I'm going to the NBA. Like nobody can tell you different. To actually be here and to be able to fight for a championship is everything, and both of us for sure, like back in the days, it's a lot of really good players came out of North Carolina, a lot of guys that made it, and every year it's just getting better, and trying to be able to be the best to be here right now. It's kind of cool.

Q. What worked for you all defensively against CP and Devin in Game 3 as opposed to the first two games of the series that allowed you have guys to have runs and eventually pull away?

P.J. TUCKER: We didn't change a whole lot. I think it was more of just our activity, our -- being able to get through screens, stay connected, show bodies, get out to other guys. It's hard because especially being off the ball, whether to help, whether to stay home, who you guard, and so many things go into it.

We honestly didn't change a whole lot. We just got better at what we were doing.

Q. I'm just wondering, when you first came here, how much of a feeling-out process, how long was just the adjustment of being with a new team? Obviously, you've adapted at this point. Just wondering how long that adjustment process was and at what point did you feel like, okay, I'm comfortable here?

P.J. TUCKER: It's an ongoing thing. Every day it's trying to figure everything out. When you get traded in the middle of the year people don't know how hard it is. It's so hard to go from one team to another, whole change of scenery, new people, new everything. It's a 24-, 48-hour turnaround and you're playing a game.

For me, that's something I pride myself in, being able to be a chameleon, kind of get in, feel the situation out, what I need to do to help us win, and so on and so forth. That's something to this day I'm figuring out every day, just trying to get better, be a better teammate, be a better vet, be a better player. Just every day just kind of chipping away at it and getting familiar with the whole team.

I don't think that ever stops.

Q. How much had you studied the Bucks before you actually arrived here? Had you been able to at all during that transition phase?

P.J. TUCKER: Lightly, just from being in the west. We didn't play the Bucks a lot last year, being in Houston, but I watched games. I'm an NBA fan, so I watched a lot of games, and watching them play, and as players you can kind of tell where you fit in. Like you're like, yeah, I could play there.

Once the opportunity came to be traded, it was top of my list, so it kind of worked out in my favor that way.

Q. I know you were asked about Giannis a lot, and you have referred to him and a lot of the teammates as dogs. I hope you indulge me on a fun question. What type of dog would best describe Giannis and what he's proven over the last 10 days?

P.J. TUCKER: Giannis is like a Greyhound, like one of them just long, paws, just -- fast. One play he took like three dribbles to go full court for a dunk. I was looking, like did he just take three dribbles? It was crazy. So yeah, he'd be something like that.

Everybody these last few games and just being around here, you just see like how hard he goes and his intensity and how focused he is on the game and just dominating.

I feel like he's turned it up even more here in the Finals, just locking in and figuring out the series and chipping away at it, trying to get better. Just time after time proving that he's one of the best and that he's still getting better. It's crazy.

Q. You were asked about trying to get used to this year. I know terminology and language is different in every NBA locker room. How much overlap was there, if any, between here and the other places you've been?

P.J. TUCKER: I still mess up. I still say stuff from previous teams. Especially in-game when you see things happen and you say something. All the time guys are like, just correct me. They'll say it after I say it because they're like, I know what you're trying to say, but it's this. I'm like, whatever, you know what I meant.

But you don't have that conversation, it's like in the moment. So that's something that's just ongoing. You're just so used to calling it blues and ices and reds. Everybody has different stuff, so you've just got to kind of figure it out.

Q. You talked about sneakers. I was curious, what is having a Dolce collaboration drop during the Finals like? I can't imagine you planned that.

P.J. TUCKER: No, that just happened. It just happened that way. I'm not like -- you're so locked in. I don't post a lot. I ain't doing a lot of stuff right now, so just to let people know, oh, yeah, this is going on, too, by the way. But I'm going to go back over here and finish the Finals.

Q. Is there anything that you really like or respect about Pat Connaughton's defensive game or pride in his hustle stats?

P.J. TUCKER: Yeah, Pat is not even defensive or offensive. I just love Pat. Pat is one of those guys, like you've got to have guys like that on your team. Pat is like essential, you know? It's a guy that -- kind of like me, where you don't got to run any plays for him. You don't got to do anything for him.

He's going to mix it up. He's going to offensive rebound. He's going to go after every ball. He's going to be all over the place, and you just know when he goes in the game, he's going to put in a thousand percent. He's going to give you everything he got, good, bad.

Whatever it's going to be tonight, I'm going to give you what I got. You can only appreciate guys in this league because there's not a lot of guys that can do it night in and night out, and Pat is one of my favorite guys. He loves coffee, too, like me. We like coffee. We both love coffee, so I feel like Pat's my guy.

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