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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat Preview: It’s PJ Tucker Ring Night!

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Milwaukee Bucks v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images


Tonight’s game might be just another regular season matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat – two teams that don’t care for each other – but it’s also the first time that NBA champion forward PJ Tucker returns to Fiserv Forum and will receive his championship ring for his contributions to the team’s title-wing effort last season.

Where We’re At

The basketball game itself that will follow the ring ceremony still matters, I suppose. The Bucks just had their 8-game win streak snapped in Toronto, and will be looking to start another one tonight. Milwaukee will be similarly short-handed as they were on Thursday, with Giannis Antetokounmpo listed as doubtful, joining the trio of inactives (Semi Ojeleye, Donte DiVincenzo, and Brook Lopez). DeMarcus Cousins, who was held out for “return to competition conditioning,” will hopefully return.

Miami will also be short-handed this evening as Jimmy Butler did not make the trip for the Heat’s game against the Pacers last night, joining Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo, and Bam Adebayo (who just underwent thumb surgery) on the inactive list. Expect heavy doses of Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro this evening, and expect a lot of small ball lineups from Miami; the tallest available player in their regular rotation after DeWayne Dedmon (7’0”) is Duncan Robinson (6’7”), which means that the front court pair of Bobby Portis and the still-acclimating Boogie Cousins should have a major advantage on the boards.

Player To Watch

Obviously it’s Buck-for-life PJ Tucker! If you haven’t already, be sure to read this Journal Sentinel piece from beat writer Jim Owczarski, which reflects just how much fondness Tucker holds for the city, and hopefully shows the same for Bucks fans and PJ.

On the court, though, the 36-year old Tucker has been putting in major minutes. He’s started all 22 games and has logged an average of 27.9 minutes per contest, something only exceeded in Miami by Robinson. Out of necessity, Tucker will play major minutes again tonight, and it will be interesting to see how much effort he puts forth considering how thin the Heat rotation is currently, and how overmatched they should be with the nearly-full strength Bucks.


Game 24: Against Miami, the Bucks will...

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