Game 7 was a win-or-go-home situation for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. And P.J. Tucker was not letting three root canals prevent him from playing.
As reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Tucker played with three root canals and did not inform his teammates about it:
P.J. Tucker played Game 7 after three root canals. Didn't even tell teammates. Was unreal.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) May 30, 2018
The Rockets lost, of course. But Tucker chipped in 14 points, 12 rebounds and shot 55.6 percent from the field — all in 44 minutes of play.
Tucker was a critical component of the Rockets’ success in the season. They picked him up primarily for defensive purposes. Standing 6’6″ and weighing 245, Tucker possesses heft to guard forwards but has enough quickness to match up against the guards. And he can also drain the three, which made him a perfect fit for Mike D’Antoni’s offensive playbook.
In the regular season, he averaged 6.1 points and 5.6 rebounds and one steal in 27.8 minutes per game. He also made 1.4 3-pointers in 3.8 attempts.
For all his efforts on the defensive end, D’Antoni said that Tucker deserved to be on the All-Defensive Team. As reported by Feigen, D’Antoni said:
[Tucker is] one of the best defenders I’ve ever seen. “I don’t know why he wouldn’t,” D’Antoni said. “It doesn’t get much better than him.”
For his part, Tucker doesn’t really mind:
“At this point, no,” Tucker said. “It would be cool, but for years, when I was mentioned as Defensive Player of the Year, they said, ‘Are you making the playoffs?’ We didn’t make it. I don’t care, man. I want to win. Whether they acknowledge it or not, who cares? It never happened before. Now, I don’t care.”