Hassan Whiteside’s occasionally-questionable on-court behavior continued on Tuesday night, with the Heat center tossed for elbowing Spurs center Boban Marjanovic in the fourth quarter.
Following a free throw by Patty Mills with 9:35 left, Whiteside and Marjanovic jostled on the block for a potential rebound, with the latter wrapping his massive paw around his opponent’s shoulder for a second. Whiteside, irritated, delivered a deliberate elbow to Marjanovic’s face and stared him down for a second afterward. He was ejected immediately for a flagrant-2, the Heat trailing by 11 at the time.
The Spurs went on to win 119–101. Watch the play below.
After the game, head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters that Whiteside’s foul was “not a basketball play.”
Whiteside, averaging 12.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks entering the night, continues to provide a risk-reward paradox not only for the Heat, but the rest of the league. With his contract up at the end of the season and his potential likely to command a serious payday, Miami must weigh whether to shell out and keep him — but his mercurial attitude and impending free agency make him extremely difficult to deal at the moment. The trade market for Whiteside remains unclear.
Do the shooting-challenged Heat make a run for it with this core around Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh? Do they extract whatever value they can out of Whiteside before potentially losing him for nothing? The Feb. 18 trade deadline will bring answers, one way or the other. Whether or not Whiteside is suspended for the play, actions like this further cloud the picture, to be sure.
The Heat are now 29–24. The Spurs move to 44–8.