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Phoenix Suns

Updated Apr 2, 2013 - 6:25 pm

PJ Tucker ‘more aggressive' since return to starting lineup

Phoenix Suns' P.J. Tucker (17) steals the ball from Sacramento Kings' Jason Thompson during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Four weeks ago he lost his starting job.

Three weeks ago he did not get a chance to do his job, as his name was not called during a loss at Atlanta on March 15.

However, since that DNP-Coach's Decision (his first of the season for non-injury reasons), PJ Tucker has put together his best series of games of the year -- especially on the offensive end.

The former 2006 second round pick has scored in double figures in six of his last eight games, including a career-high 18 point performance against Sacramento.

"Lindsey (Hunter) has been telling me to be more aggressive," Tucker said.

The increased production has also coincided with his return to the first unit, a move made after six games as a reserve.

"It's just the mindset of coming off the bench and starting is a little different," Tucker said. "In the past five, six games, I've been really aggressive, especially running, getting out on the break, trying to knock down open shots.

"It kind of worked out that way" he said referring to the timing.

Tucker, averaging 10.6 points on 37-of-71 (.521) shooting over this stretch, missed some practice time this week with what his head coach jokingly described as a "boo-boo."

The reality is Tucker was hit in the back of his right knee Saturday against Indiana.

"Nothing's broke," he said. "I'll be alright."

He is expected to start Wednesday when the Suns visit the Los Angeles Clippers.

Tucker's offensive ability has never come into question. He consistently was a double-figure scorer during his five years playing overseas which included stops in Germany, Israel, Puerto Rico and the Ukraine.

The Suns, though, brought him back stateside for his aggressiveness defensively.

"That will always be my game," he said. "That's always first because that turns into offense. Great defense turns into easy offense. You've got to have that. There are not a lot of people that pride themselves in that and really, really try to do that. I think that kind of separates me."

About the Author

School: Syracuse University, '96

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: December 1, 1999

Favorite sports memory: Game 7, 2001 World Series

Least-favorite sports memory: Game 1, 1988 World Series

Favorite all-time athlete(s): Larry Bird, Don Mattingly

Favorite sports movies: Hoosiers, Field of Dreams


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