Hassan Whiteside Reacts to Playing 5 Minutes in Win vs. Washington Wizards

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The Miami Heat career of center Hassan Whiteside has seen him periodically erupt in anger because of a lack of playing time. On Saturday night, the veteran played just five minutes against the Washington Wizards, but offered a team-first approach during his postgame remarks.

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The Heat came away with a clutch 113-108 road victory over the Wizards, which was a crucial win on two fronts.

For one, it kept them firmly in the eighth playoff spot, where they entered the contest ahead of the Orlando Magic by just one-half game. It also put them within 1.5 games of both the Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets, who are currently tied for the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Whiteside’s more mature approach to his status was in contrast to his actions earlier in the season.

Back in December, Whiteside left the bench late in a loss to Orlando, which caused Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra to criticize his actions. He has also spoken before about his frustration in not playing during the latter stages of games.

In Whiteside’s last eight contests, he’s only played 20 minutes or more once, with the Heat having a 5-3 record in those games.

Last night’s game marked the second time in a week that Whiteside has seen the court for just five minutes in a game.That other five-minute performance came in Monday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The 29-year-old Whiteside has the ability to make some real contributions to the Heat during this playoff push and in the postseason if the Heat should advance. In his 64 games this year, he’s averaging 12.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

How well he accepts Spoelstra’s lineup choices during this period is important since it can help avoid a locker room distraction that the team simply can’t afford.
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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.