P.J. Tucker was so mad after Game 1 loss that he refused phone call from James Harden
The Houston Rockets had some changes to make after a Game 1 defeat to the Golden State Warriors stripped them of their hard-earned home court advantage. The loss had made resident ace defender P.J. Tucker so mad that he even refused to answer a call from his teammate James Harden.
“I was so mad I didn’t answer the phone,” Tucker told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne after Wednesday night’s win. “James was mad I didn’t answer. But it wasn’t one of those where we had to talk it out. We all knew what happened.”
“We played like the Rockets tonight. The first game, I don’t know who that was.”
True to Mike D’Antoni’s words, the Rockets didn’t change their style or their identity, but rather made simpler, easier decisions and weren’t forced into mistakes like they were in Game 1. Harden and Chris Paul were no longer dribbling the air out of the ball, but finding the open man and using isolation as a way to find collapses on the defense, rather than just merely exposing the weakest defender on the team.
Eric Gordon, who voiced his desire for more touches on offense, got them, turning in a 27-point performance off the bench on Wednesday night.
“I had better opportunities. We moved the ball better. Everybody was knocking down shots,” said Gordon. “Once we do that, how can you stop us?”
“Everyone wants to talk about iso-ball. They’re going to play iso-ball and we’re going to play iso-ball. What we did this time, when we played iso ball, was hit the open man, who would hit the next shot. We were just passing the ball better.”
The Rockets didn’t abandon their nature, but played smarter basketball to make the most of their assets on the court — and while Tucker missed the call after the game, he only missed one shot on Wednesday.