The Heat hit a bump in the road lately, stumbling to three straight losses on a long West Coast road trip. After Wednesday night’s 14-point defeat to the Clippers, long-simmering conflicts seemed to surface. Both Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh subtlety called out Hassan Whiteside, who they thought was babying his knee tendonitis:
Wade said the team experienced “a lot of inner dilemmas” as their 16-point lead turned into a 20-point deficit and a deflating loss.
“You’ve gotta keep pushing through (setbacks),” Wade said. “It’s a different challenge, and a lot of guys don’t understand what the challenge is about and haven’t been in this moment.”
Last night against the Nuggets, things were on the verge of getting worse. Missing Wade and Goran Dragic, the Heat went into halftime with a 16-point deficit. But in the third quarter Whiteside exploded, tallying nine points, six rebounds, and five blocks en route to an unreal 19/17/11 stat line in the 98-95 comeback win.
After the game, Whiteside was very clear about how unique his shot-blocking talents are:
Whiteside’s correct that there isn’t anybody else doing it with blocks: the last non-Whiteside triple-double involving blocks was put up by Joakim Noah, three seasons ago. It’s this talent that’s going to get Whiteside a huge payday this offseason, even though his teammates always seem to be frustrated with him. But if he can block half a dozen shots every night, he’ll be well worth the money.