P.J. Tucker’s inspiring message for his Miami Heat teammates during team’s gritty win vs. Portland Trail Blazers

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The Miami Heat picked up a hard-fought win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, and it came with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo out of the lineup.

Miami was forced to play several players that are on 10-day deals in the win, including Kyle Guy, Chris Silva and Haywood Highsmith.

Heat forward P.J. Tucker gave his teammates an inspiring message during Wednesday’s win, as he explained that this was their chance to shine with Miami down so many key players.

“I looked all those guys in the eyes and said, ‘This is the time,’” Tucker said. “‘This is it. You don’t get these opportunities. Period. These are opportunities for you guys to be able to take steps to get roles in this league.’”

Tucker wasn’t wrong, as the players on the 10-day deals are auditioning for their next job in the NBA if they don’t end up returning to the Heat.

“You’re playing on the Miami Heat right now, but every other team in the league is looking,” Tucker said. “You’re all auditioning every single night, and you’ve got to step up and help teams get a win. Whether you’re on a 10-day, whether you’re on a one-year, whatever your situation is. These are opportunities.”

Guy, Silva and Highsmith all responded with key contributions in Miami’s win. Guy paced the trio with nine points in the contest.

Tucker was fantastic for Miami on Wednesday, as he put up 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

The veteran forward knows what it is like to struggle to earn an NBA role, as after his rookie season, he was out of the league from the 2007-08 season through the 2011-12 season before returning to the NBA in the 2012-13 campaign with the Phoenix Suns.

This season, Tucker is averaging 8.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from beyond the arc.

He has made a huge impact on the floor for the Heat and is clearly a leader in the locker room as well.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.