Hassan Whiteside Out As Injuries Pile Up

The Miami Heat cannot catch a break. Even after all the injuries that they have had, they have gone through the ringer. What sets this game apart is the fact that Miami had the opportunity to win this game.

If you’ve been paying attention to the Heat’s season, you know that they have struggled to maintain the players that they have. Chris Bosh has been injured, Danny Granger has been injured, Luol Deng got injured and Dwyane Wade has been injured for the past few games since hurting his hamstring. Miami has gotten a little lucky by landing Hassan Whiteside.

Whiteside really didn’t start playing until the end of 2014. In the month of January, he averaged 13 points per game and 10 rebounds per game. That is pretty solid by all standards. In February, although admittedly in only three games, he has averaged 18 points per game, 13 rebounds per game on 64 percent shooting from the field.

That is, as Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report said, “cartoonish.”

What makes it cartoonish is his knack for getting baskets and picking up rebounds. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time, which incidentally worked in his favor when he was picked up by the Heat. It isn’t just on offense that he makes a dent, but it is his defense as well. He is averaging 3.3 blocks per game since 2015 started.

But that effort did not come against the Spurs. Instead, what the Heat got was another lesson, following the NBA Finals last season, in how to pass and play defense like a team. The Spurs can beat you in so many ways because they have so many versatile players. Watching the game, you can’t help but wonder, “how can anyone guard this team?”

The reason is that they can beat you so many ways. Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard had 16 by the end of the first half. Meanwhile, the Heat had to find ways to contain Duncan, and also close out on shooters like Marco Belinelli and Danny Green.

The Heat were able to keep it relatively close, if by close you meant that it was about 10 to 12 point lead most of the game. That lead might have been closer had they had their new superstar. “Hassanity” is sweeping the NBA by storm, and the Heat missed him a lot last night. Parker was able to get into the lane way too easily.

And there wasn’t really anybody available for the Heat to give any interior scoring. Whiteside would have been able to at least put pressure on Duncan, and make the man of a certain age move around. Miami wasn’t able to put pressure on the Spurs at all really.

But there is one thing that I still liked about last night’s game. I thought that for the first half that Miami played at a good pace. Some might argue about the sustainability of that pace, but I would argue that the other alternative is to continue playing the slowest pace in the league, and continue losing.

At least Miami took chances by going downcourt swiftly and looking to get to the rim at times, or maybe swinging the ball to see if they can get some movement. That is something that we haven’t seen from them that much this season.

Keep in mind, Wade, Bosh and Whiteside haven’t started that many games together. If the three are able to somehow get healthy, and sneak into the playoffs together, then that lineup could prove to be scary against opposing teams. But this entire season, Miami has played with lack.

Like Chris Bosh said, he’d like for them to all be healthy just once.