Brook Lopez to return to Bucks' lineup Tuesday (PHT) against Jazz

Published March 14, 2022, 10:00 AMNBA.com News Services

The starting center from Milwaukee's championship run will be back in action for the first time since opening night.

The Bucks have missed Brook Lopez’s presence on the defensive end this season.

Milwaukee’s once-vaunted defense is ready to welcome back its missing piece in the middle

Brook Lopez will make his long-awaited return to the Bucks lineup when they play at Utah on Monday, the team announced. The former All-Star and All-Defensive center had played just one game for Milwaukee this season — their home-opening win against the Nets — before undergoing back surgery.

Lopez’s absence has coincided with the Bucks’ slippage on the defensive end. Milwaukee ranks just 13th on that end after finishing 10th last year and No. 1 the previous two seasons.

The former 10th overall pick’s rim protection was vital in the Bucks’ 2021 championship run. He averaged 13.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in that postseason while blunting opponents’ interior scoring with his length, positioning and timing.

Brooks’ return arrives as the Bucks seek to make one last run at the East’s top seed. Milwaukee (42-26) is in a virtual tie with Philadelphia (41-25) for second, with Miami 2.5 games ahead in the standings.