During the second half of the Miami Heat‘s Saturday night road loss to the Atlanta Hawks, starting center Hassan Whiteside was benched after playing less than four minutes. After the game, the veteran spoke about playing a season-low 16 minutes in the 123-118 defeat.
“I believe I’m the best shot blocker in the NBA and rebounder in the NBA. So, of course I feel like I can help. But it’s coach’s decision.”
The 7-footer discounted an awkward landing on his right knee during the game as a potential cause for being taken out. While he indicated that it was nothing close to the bone bruise on his left knee that caused him to miss a number of games, Whiteside did note that the issue would be looked at by the team’s medical staff:
“We’re going to check with the doctor and figure out what happened.”
In taking out Whiteside and using fellow big man Kelly Olynyk sparingly, Spoelstra made the decision to go with a smaller lineup. He explained his decision following the contest:
“It’s always a tough call, especially when you go that many minutes with that kind of group. Anybody that’s been on the bench, it’s tough to get going. Plus, Hassan banged his knee. He didn’t have his full mobility. But I wasn’t opposed to it, I just didn’t go that way.”
The loss dropped the Heat’s season record to 3-5 and marked their third consecutive defeat. They’ll have an opportunity to end that losing streak when they stay on the road for a game on Monday night in Detroit.