PHOENIX -- A series of timely Euro steps were taken by P.J. Tucker during a pro basketball odyssey that's now playing at U.S. Airways Center.
"My time in Europe definitely helped me get here," Tucker said Wednesday night before he and the Phoenix Suns ripped the Charlotte Bobcats, 121-104. "No doubt about that."
By "here," Tucker could have been referring to a growing level of prominence in the Suns' rotation. As ringleader in a second-quarter squeeze of the Bobcats, the relentlessly single-minded small forward guarded four different players and scored 10 points in a 36-19, 12-minute blitz. Charlotte missed 12 of 15 shots in the period and committed 6 turnovers.
But certain elements in Tucker's knack for generating opponent mistakes, hustling to fill the lane and finishing can be credited to his Europe-to-NBA translation.
"I've always been a pretty good defender," Tucker, who starred at Texas before being selected by the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft,...