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P.J. Tucker brings much-needed grit to the Houston Rockets

Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Yesterday, in an Opening Night win against the defending champion Warriors, one new Rocket had a great impact.

P.J. Tucker was one of the most underrated signings of the offseason. He brings so much value on both ends of the court for the Rockets.

Last night against the Warriors, he scored 20 points off the bench for the Rockets and played crucial defense in the 4th quarter. He also brought back some of the grit that the Rockets need that was lost with the subtraction of Patrick Beverley.

The grit of P.J. Tucker

The Rockets needed a player to step up and play similarly to Beverley. P.J. Tucker answered the call, stepping up for some key rebounds and shots down the stretch. His defense on Warriors’ at all positions was key in taking down the champs.

One question coming into the season was whether or not the Rockets would have the players that would do things on the court that are not always appreciated. P.J. Tucker will do just that and was an absolute steal this offseason. Without him last night, the Rockets would not have walked out of Oracle Arena with a victory.

His former teammate Devin Booker is right:

PJ Tucker MVP of that game

— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) October 18, 2017

His shooting

It was definitely known coming into the season that Tucker can shoot the 3. Last night, he still managed to exceed expectations. He went 4/6 from deep and knocked down key shots throughout the game, especially in the 4th quarter.

Obviously, Tucker is not going to shoot 66.7% from 3 this season, but if he hovers around the 40% mark, the bench of the Rockets could be scary good. They thoroughly outplayed the bench of the Warriors last night, besides unreal shooting from Nick Young (6/7 from 3).

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Finishing games

P.J. Tucker is someone who the Rockets should consider to finish the majority of close games. He fits in perfectly with the offense and can shut down opposing stars. He is big enough and quick enough to play at any position necessary to close games.

In just 29 minutes, he was a +20 on the court. The team plays better when he is playing, why not have him finish games?

Of course, it has only been one game. No rash judgments can be made of anyone after the first game of the season. Hopefully, Tucker keeps it up and proves to be a gritty player that can finish games for Houston.

Take a look at his highlights from the game, provided by the YouTube channel FreeDawkins:

What a beast. It will be exciting to see him play this season in Rockets red. In a game where Chris Paul struggled, Tucker stepped up big and contributed.

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Next: Rockets come back for win vs. Warriors