Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside made a dirty basketball play last night. Actually, calling it a basketball play is probably a stretch. It was a cheap shot, plain and simple. Whiteside got miffed at Kelly Olynyk for some reason late in the third quarter and decided to deliver a two-handed shove to the unsuspecting Celtic once Olynyk turned his back to Whiteside.
Whiteside was rightfully ejected from the game, but the ejection itself is not what is generating headlines in the aftermath of the Celtics’ 100-90 win over the Heat. Instead, the breakout center has been called out by Heat star Dwyane Wade for his actions.
Here are some of Wade’s comments via Joe Goodman of the Miami Herald:
“He’s had enough veteran advice. There comes a time where you have to do it yourself. There’s only so many words people can continue to say to you. You gotta do it. Not for you, you got to do it for the other guys you see in here sacrificing — that you see out there playing hurt and all the things you see going on. You’re part of a team. You’re part of an organization. We all have our moments, selfish moments, but you can’t continue to keep having them because you got to be reliable, and you got to be able to be counted on. And right now, if he continues to act that way, then he’s not reliable.”
Wade’s intentions seem pure on the surface. The Heat were shorthanded last night and they needed Whiteside out there in crunch time. The big man was also ejected last week in a game against the Suns for getting into a scuffle with Alex Len.
However, it’s impossible not to read those comments from Wade and think about the track record of the messenger in this situation. When it comes to cheap shots in the NBA, there are few players that have a longer rap sheet than Wade.
One simple YouTube search of “Wade” and “dirty” or “cheap shot” will give you all the evidence you need. When you have multiple compilations made of these kinds of plays, it speaks for itself.
Celtics fans are very familiar with Wade’s work from witnessing him taking Rajon Rondo out of the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals with a brutal takedown that crushed Rondo’s left elbow.
Wade was only whistled for a personal foul on the play, nothing more, but it’s hard not to think he got off easy for the trip. The same bodes true for a two-handed shove to the back of Darren Collison during the 2012 postseason. In fact, that’s the virtually the same exact type of play that Whiteside got tossed for last night. Wade was only given a flagrant foul, but no ejection.
Wade’s star label has helped him dodge league penalties and heavy scrutiny from his disturbing track record throughout his career, but last night’s episode brought up an important reminder. If Wade wants to lecture his teammates about their actions, fine, but his credibility on the issue of “cheap” shots or “selfish” plays is questionable at best. The guy is better off taking a long look in the mirror before he chides others for their behavior.