Sixers praise PJ Tucker for defense on Kristaps Porzingis in win over Wizards


PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers played host to the Washington Wizards on Sunday night just looking to keep the momentum going before heading out on the road for seven of their next eight games.

They did so rather easily with a wire-to-wire 112-93 win over the Wizards on a night when they led by as many as 25. The Sixers shot 51.2% from the floor compared to 40.5% for Washington.

The Sixers started the game having PJ Tucker defend Kristaps Porzingis despite a big height difference. Tucker stands at 6-foot-5 and Porzingis at 7-foot-3 so, obviously, Porzingis can just rise up and shoot over Tucker.

However, he had a tough night offensively as he shot just 4-for-15 from the floor to score nine points on the night. That defensive work drew praise from his teammates.

“Just physical,” coach Doc Rivers said of Tucker’s defensive assignment on Porzingis. “He gets up into his body. You almost have to. He’s so long. The few times that he caught it when the guys are often and drove, it’s too late. He just turns and shoots and that’s what PJ does and get up into you. He has great hands.”

Normally, the Sixers would throw Joel Embiid onto Porzingis. However, they had him as more of a roamer in this matchup and Tucker stepped up to the plate in this instance.

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“It was good,” said Embiid of Tucker. “When you’re playing against someone like him, 7-foot-4 or whatever he is, you got to pressure him. You gotta be physical and you got to make him drive. He’s just gonna shoot over you and there’s nothing you can do about it. I thought he limited his catches and pushed him out when he needed to. When he got the ball, he was all over him and he really didn’t have any chance to try to get a shot off.”

The Sixers didn’t start the game great on offense, but they were able to throw the Wizards out of whack and Tucker’s defense on Porzingis set the tone for them on the defensive end.

“I think he set the tone,” added Georges Niang. “I think that’s why we took a big lead going in. He wasn’t letting Porzingis get any touches, and then when he’d switch off on other guys, he wasn’t letting them get into a rhythm and kind of set the tone.”


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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire

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