Not even a dominant performance from Hassan Whiteside could get the Miami Heat over the line against the Golden State Warriors.
Welcome to the Hot Hand, where after every Miami Heat game win or loss we recognize the player who best put his stamp on the game.
The Miami Heat gave themselves every chance of causing a major upset on the road in Oakland, California. Following a Tyler Johnson dunk the Heat trailed 85-82 with just 6:36 remaining in the fourth quarter. But a monster 28 point, 20 rebound performance from Hassan Whiteside could not prevent the Heat eventually falling to the Golden State Warriors, 107-95.
Whiteside made light work of the Warriors’ starting center, Zaza Pachilia, and was not fazed by any other opponents thrown his way. Whiteside finished an impressive 13-of-17 from the field in his 37 minutes of play. He also contributed two blocks and two assists and was a +5 when on the floor.
Whiteside scored in a multitude of ways including jump hooks, spin moves and lobs from teammates finishing in dunks. The following clip is just one of several dunks Whiteside had for the night:
Most impressively, Whiteside saved his best for last. In the fourth quarter alone he produced 12 points and 7 rebounds on 6-of-8 from the field. It was clear that Whiteside was much more in tune and focused in his second game back after a four-game absence with an eye injury.
These sort of performances are the reason the Heat invested $98 million in him this past offseason. Now with a 11-29 record, much speculation has surrounded the Heat roster this season. The recent proclamation by ESPN’s Zach Lowe that the Heat were ‘open for business’ raised further talk as to the future of Whiteisde in Miami.
But it’s moves such as the following that make Whiteside an incredibly valuable commodity:
Whiteside again demonstrated his combination of size, athleticism and deft touch with several terrific moves. Combine this with his work on the boards and overall paint presence, and there aren’t many players in the league capable of replicating his game.
It’s just a matter of getting Whiteside to compete and perform at his optimum as often as possible. The following rebound he pulled down demonstrates the great hands he possesses and his general feel of the ball coming off the glass:
The Heat conclude their road trip on Friday when they come up against the Milwaukee Bucks. Almost at the midpoint of the season, Whiteside is now averaging 17.5 points, 14.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. Clearly, these are terrific numbers. And the Heat are going to need more of the same if they are going to claw their way back up the standings.