Heat starting power forward P.J. Tucker, now 37, has been his usual pesky self on the defensive end against the Sixers, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. It’s been a huge boon for Miami, which currently leads Philadelphia 2-1 in the teams’ second-round playoff series.
“P.J. does what he does,” Sixers starting small forward Danny Green said. “We don’t back down. But you’ve got to play smart. Don’t take any cheap stuff. Don’t give any cheap stuff. Be just as physical as they are. We’re going to check people, get into bodies. Let them know we’re here too. We’re here to win. It’s the type of basketball you want to see.”
Jackson noted that Tucker’s repertoire included a litany of hard screens and rugged on-ball defense. The veteran Tucker, who won a title with the Bucks last year, signed a two-year, $15MM contract with the Heat during the offseason. Should he so choose, Tucker could try to capitalize on his successful playoff performance thus far: he has a player option on the 2022/23 season.
There’s more out of South Beach:
- Heat Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro lit up the Sixers across Miami’s first two games, both wins, in the series, scoring 43 points on 15-of-27 shooting. In response, the Sixers have opted to consistently trap the third-year guard, an issue for which Miami must now game plan, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “That’s a sign of great respect, how important Tyler is to us,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged with regards to the new defensive attention.
- Miami’s $90MM man Duncan Robinson has fallen out of the club’s rotation with the ascension of Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Victor Oladipo on the Heat depth chart. The veteran forward is striving to handle the demotion with a positive attitude, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. “It has been a challenge,” Robinson acknowledged. “But it comes with the territory. It’s part of being a professional.”
- With the return of starting Heat point guard Kyle Lowry into the lineup, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if the moves of Victor Oladipo and Gabe Vincent to the bench have hurt the club’s chemistry. Winderman postulates that Vincent may eventually feel the minutes squeeze as Lowry’s minutes increase.