Heat Nation

Pat Riley Responds to Hassan Whiteside’s Comments About Lack of Late-Game Touches

Hassan Whiteside Pat Riley

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside was fed up after Tuesday night’s double-overtime loss to the Orlando Magic. Miami had several chances to win the game down the stretch but costly errors at the end of regulation and overtime caused them to fall short.

After the game, a frustrated Whiteside vented to Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald:

“No disrespect to the Magic or anything, but that was the most disappointing loss of the season in my opinion,” Whiteside said. “Because we had so many chances to win that game.”

Whiteside had 32 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks in the game, but was particularly upset about his lack of touches down the stretch. The 7-footer went 12-of-19 from the field in regulation, but had only three attempts in the two overtime periods combined.

“They say I’m the franchise player. I would think I should get more,” Whiteside responded when asked about his lack of late touches. “But, I don’t know, man. I don’t think so to be honest. Coach is going to coach.”

By Wednesday, Heat president Pat Riley decided to respond to his star center’s comments:

Whiteside drawing up plays may not be the best solution for Miami at this point.

What Riley is likely suggesting, though, is that Whiteside should talk to his coaches when he’s upset about something, as opposed to venting to the media about it:

In all fairness to Whiteside though, the entire season has been frustrating for Heat players and fans alike. The team is just 9-20 on the year, and the big man was speaking to the media fresh after receiving three stitches for an elbow he took to the head in the loss. He had also received an elbow to the rib cage toward the end of regulation, but the way the game ended Tuesday night probably hurt more than anything else.

“When you feel like you’re dominating you get so caught up in trying to force a win for the team,” Whiteside said. “I wanted to win so bad. I don’t think you all understand. I probably slept two hours last night. I just wanted to win so bad. I love these guys. We’ve got great fans. I just want us to win a championship every year. I just felt sorry. I just felt bad.”

Riley, who knows a thing or two about the desire to win, acknowledged the big man’s frustrations:

“When you have players that play like that and you lose in double overtime you’re going to be frustrated,” Riley said. “I think as he matures more to be a franchise player, you have to be an all of the time franchise player. And I think he’s on his way to becoming that. The more he goes through this kind of adversity and the sting of losing, the more he’s going to make sure we don’t lose those games and he’s going to be the difference maker at the end.”

Whiteside and company will have to figure things out quickly, as the Heat must attempt to defend homecourt again against the visiting Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night. Both teams have lost their last five games and are desperate for a win.

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