Getty Images

Hassan Whiteside on sitting vs. small lineups: “It’s bull—-. It’s really bull—-, man”

8 Comments

If Hassan Whiteside was as good as Hassan Whiteside thinks he is, the Miami Heat wouldn’t have this problem.

In the fourth quarter and overtime against Brooklyn Saturday night — a Miami loss that kept it from clinching a playoff spot — Whiteside was watching from the bench. Which is part of a pattern, coach Eric Spoelstra tends to match opponents small lineups in the fourth (often using Kelly Olynyk and his floor-spacing shooting on the court or rookie Bam Adebayo, although neither of them was on the court Saturday late).

Saturday, the benching led to an expletive-filled postgame rant from Whiteside, as reported by Ira Winderman at the Sun-Sentinel.

“Man, it’s annoying,” said Whiteside, who was pulled for good with 3:55 to play in the third quarter. “Why we matching up? We got one of the best centers in the league. Why we matching up? A lot of teams don’t have a good center. They’re going to use their strength.

“It’s bull—. It’s really bull—, man,” Whiteside said. “There’s a lot of teams that could use a center. S—. That’s bull—.”

This led to questions about Whiteside’s future with the team after this season.

Asked if it has him questioning his future with the team, he said. “I don’t know, maybe.”

Some of this is venting after a loss. If Dwyane Wade had gotten the call his wife complained about on Twitter at the end of regulation and Miami got the win, Spoelstra looks smart matching. However, Brooklyn won, and Whiteside watched and felt he could have helped. That’s the kind of competitive spirit Heat fans should want out of their center.

Also, maybe the Heat have not made it clear enough to Whiteside why such decisions are made. Spoelstra has some Popovich in the way he coaches in that he will bench anyone if he thinks it will help, trusting his gut (and eyes, and the numbers) in the flow of the game. Whiteside’s rant was that of a guy not understanding why certain decisions are made, and his frustration is understandable.

Whether Whiteside being on the court would have helped like he thought is another question — for a paint-protecting big man he doesn’t strike great fear into opponents, the Nets went hard at him and the rim all game. Whiteside was in just his second game back after missing nine with a hip flexor and after the game Spoelstra said Whiteside’s conditioning after the layoff was part of the decision. However, he then said that their small lineup “got to our size a little bit” so he matched it. Spoelstra made a philosophical decision, one that left Whiteside and other bigs on the bench.

Whiteside has battled injuries this season — he has played in only 49 games — and is playing seven fewer minutes a game when he does suit up than he did a season ago. Overall, Whiteside’s per-minute numbers and efficiency are up this season — he is the player he’s been for a couple of seasons — but with a deeper bench and options Spoelstra is choosing to go a different direction at times.

As for the future, Whiteside is under contract for $25.4 million for next season, then has an early termination option (a player option, in practice) for $27 million the season after that, the final seasons on a four-year, $98 million contract from two summers ago. In a summer where a lot of teams will be looking to shed salary, it will not be easy to move Whiteside making that much, even though he brings value to wherever he would land. He’s a quality center, just not one of the elite handful that truly changes games in the NBA.

 

LeBron James, Lonzo Ball both drop triple-doubles on Hornets (VIDEO)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The game itself wasn’t that interesting, it was an old-fashioned drubbing. The Charlotte Hornets go as Kemba Walker goes, and he was 2-of-13 shooting on the night. The Lakers have LeBron James… and Lonzo Ball.

LeBron has a triple-double Saturday with 24 points 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Lonzo Ball joined him in the triple-double realm with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Check out the highlights.

It’s been a while since teammates had a triple-double together: The last ones were Vince Carter and Jason Kidd as New Jersey Nets back on April 7, 2007.

The last Laker teammates to do it? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson back in 1982.

Pistons end Boston’s 8-game run, beat Celtics 113-104

Associated Press
Leave a comment

DETROIT (AP) — Jayson Tatum leaped toward the basket and Andre Drummond met him there, blocking the Boston forward’s attempt at a one-handed dunk.

It was a fitting conclusion to an impressive second half of defense by the Detroit Pistons.

“I was thinking to myself as I was running. I’m like, if he gets this dunk, it’s going to ignite their entire team,” Drummond said. “I have to do something.”

There would be no late surge by the Celtics in the final minutes. Blake Griffin scored 27 points and Drummond added 19 points and 20 rebounds to help the Pistons win 113-104 on Saturday night, snapping the Celtics’ eight-game winning streak. Detroit also ended its own six-game skid with a solid 48-minute effort.

The Pistons took control with a 13-0 run in the third quarter and played well at the start of the fourth as well.

“They looked great. They were screening us, they were active, they were alert, they played great,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “We couldn’t match them shot for shot because the way we were guarding, that’s what we had to do, and we just couldn’t do it. So hats off to them. It’s not our best game. That’s it.”

Kyrie Irving led Boston with 26 points.

Both teams shot over 60 percent from the field in the first quarter, and the game was still tight at halftime, with Detroit up 57-56. Drummond punctuated his team’s 13-point run in the third with a dunk that put the Pistons ahead 76-66.

Boston closed the quarter strong and trailed by just seven after three, but a 10-1 run to start the fourth put Detroit up 95-79.

The Celtics missed their first seven shots from the floor in the final quarter and went over seven minutes before making a field goal.

The Pistons had 20 turnovers, including eight in the fourth quarter.

“The simple plays, just making the simple pass is the key,” Detroit coach Dwane Casey said. “The game gives you simple plays and for whatever reason we kind of get discombobulated.”

 

 

Pacers’ Myles Turner fined $15,000 for flipping bird at Sixers fans

Getty Images
3 Comments

Myles Turner had to know this was coming.

Frustrated after fouling Joel Embiid under the basket and being taken out of the game, the Pacers’ big man flipped off some Sixers fans as he walked to the bench.

Saturday the league announced Turner was fined $15,000 for “making an inappropriate gesture toward the spectator stands.” The league, understandably, is not a fan of its players flipping off fans.

That fine is pretty much the going rate for these kinds of incidences.

Embiid went on to score 40 Friday night in a dominant performance, but the Pacers won the game 113-101.

Why are Lakers saving their young core? Reportedly to chase Anthony Davis.

Getty Images
10 Comments

Anthony Davis is the target at the top of the Lakers’ wish list.

He’s also at the top of the wish list for the Boston Celtics and about 27 other teams, too. But if Davis is put on the trade block — something that is not likely until this summer, New Orleans is working to keep him — the Lakers and Celtics will be at the front of the line.

Which is why, when reports that the Lakers would not include any of their young core in a trade for Trevor Ariza came out, it fit with the Lakers’ long-term thinking. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN discussed this on a special trade season preview broadcast Saturday morning (transcription via Real GM).

“Here’s the line [the Lakers] have to walk: they’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they have to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer either pre or post free agency…

“The absolute dream scenario, people talk about (how) they can trade for Anthony Davis or sign a free agent. The dream scenario is they do both.”

The dream is to sign Kawhi Leonard or Kevin Durant and get Davis, and while that dream may be a long shot the only chance they have is if they still have their core players to throw in a package.

The larger point also is valid — the Lakers are not going to beat the Warriors come the playoffs this season (assuming the Warriors are healthy) and L.A. should keep its powder dry for bigger battles. And Davis will be the biggest of battles.

New Orleans wants to keep Davis, they are actively trying to be buyers at the trade deadline, not sellers. Sources have told me the Pelicans’ plan is to win as much as possible this season and show Davis they are serious, then come July 1 offer Davis a designated veteran contract extension worth $230 million (or a little more, depending upon the cap). It’s roughly $40 million more than any other team can offer guaranteed. If Davis and his agent Rich Paul — the same agent as LeBron James — turn down that contract then the Pelicans will be forced to consider a trade.

If we get to that point, then all bets are off and the Lakers are all in. Until then, the Lakers are wise just to be patient.