The Heat-76ers series has been marked by Tucker’s aggressive on-court approach against his opponents, though complaints by the 76ers don’t seem to matter to the veteran.
“I couldn’t care less,” Tucker said. “I’m playing basketball. All the extra, I don’t even talk about the fake tough guy talk. We’re playing basketball. Nobody cares. I’m trying to win, do whatever I got to do to win. That’s it, period. That’s all it’s about. That’s all I care about.”
Tucker’s comments come in the wake of a Game 3 incident in which he delivered a forearm to the back of the Sixers’ Matisse Thybulle. That interaction led to some heated remarks from both players and each of them being assessed technical fouls.
That approach on defense has been effective for the most part during the first three games of the playoff series. The Heat are holding a 2-1 advantage entering Sunday night’s important Game 4 matchup.
Tucker has been especially effective when it comes to guarding 76ers guard James Harden, a former teammate of his on the Houston Rockets.
One notable statistic connected to Tucker’s defense against the 76ers shows how effective he’s been. In 99 possessions in which Tucker has been matched up against Harden, the Sixers guard has scored just nine points while the 76ers have only scored 71 points.
That level of success by Tucker likely helps explain the frustration that’s led to the animosity being directed at him by the 76ers.
Tucker’s apathy toward that animosity should be on display in Game 4, with the Heat in a position to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series if they win. One thing that’s clear is that the veteran has adopted a whatever it takes philosophy when it comes to winning at the most important time of the season.