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P.J. Tucker admits it’s ‘still a little difficult to digest’ Rockets’ Western Conference Finals loss

P.J. Tucker, Rockets

The Houston Rockets defeated the Golden State Warriors 118-112 on Saturday night despite the absence of James Harden.

But for some Rockets players — notably wingman P.J. Tucker — the memory of last year’s defeat in the Western Conference Finals at the hands of the Warriors still stings.

Tucker told Yahoo Sports:

“That was tough,” Tucker told Yahoo Sports. “It was tough and early on, I had to get away from the game for a minute. To be that close, to be in that situation, up 3-2, that was tough, man. To lose that way with that feeling going into Game 6, man. I don’t even like talking about it now. It’s still a little difficult to digest. We were really riding high and it was a good feeling. We were rolling. It was the best our team had felt with 65 wins and all that stuff. But I think it makes now even more precious to us. Getting Chris back now and the way we’ve been playing … just getting back comfortable and getting ready to really finish these last 23 games strong.”

At 34-25, the Rockets are currently the fifth seed in the West, just one game ahead of the Utah Jazz. But for Tucker, the end goal will be the same regardless of seeding:

“It’s motivation to get back there and go further,” Tucker told Yahoo Sports. “If we don’t go further, then the season is a bust for us. If we don’t make it to the Finals, it’s a bust. No matter what happens, we have to get further.”

Tucker had one of his best games of the season against the Warriors, posting a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds while adding a pair of blocks and four steals.