Miami Heat big man Hassan Whiteside struggles at times and has had some trouble getting along with Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley, particularly after last season’s playoffs when Riley publicly called out Whiteside’s readiness and conditioning. But there was no question whatsoever about Whiteside’s motivation and ability to incapacitate the San Antonio Spurs tonight, as Whiteside delivered a vintage performance in a 95-88 Miami win.
Coming off a missed game against the Pistons due to a knee injury, Whiteside worked to dismantle the opposing offense every single possession, while also forcefully carrying the Heat attack to victory. His first half, specifically, was nothing short of astounding, as the center scored 18 points, picked up 15 rebounds, and earned himself eight blocks, which were an NBA best for an entire game so far this season. Whiteside finished with 29 points, 20 boards, and nine rejections, as the Heat held on in the fourth quarter for the win.
Here is a fun little stat from the middle of the third:
Granted, the Spurs starting five tonight was pretty much the ideal lineup for Whiteside to score a big night against, with Bryn Forbes as their only credible three-point threat and the slightly smaller LaMarcus Aldridge going up directly against Miami’s rim protector. (The better-shooting bench players Davis Bertans and Patty Mills helped keep the score closer.) But even with the knowledge in the back of your head that Whiteside gets eaten alive by Joel Embiid or a team that can properly space the floor, there’s always something fun about seeing a guy rack up a near-triple-double thanks to blocked shots. This monstrous version of Hassan Whiteside should try his best to show up in April this season.