In the fourth quarter of the Miami Heat‘s 116-93 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, Heat center Hassan Whiteside grabbed a rebound, went up for a layup and was pulled down to the floor by Hawks forward Taurean Prince. Whiteside hit the court with a thud, and a kerfuffle ensued. Miami forward James Johnson ran from the perimeter and leaped over Whiteside in order to shove Prince, earning an ejection. Prince also had to leave the game because he was assessed a flagrant-2 foul.
Whiteside was not exactly in a conciliatory mood after the game, calling reporters a “fake tough guy” and pledging to pay Johnson’s fine. From the Miami Herald‘s Manny Navarro:
“The guy — he just wrapped me up. It was a dangerous play,” said Whiteside, who didn’t know until after the game it was Prince who had slammed him to the court because teammates wouldn’t tell him who had done it. “Fake tough guy — that’s what happened.”
Whiteside said he’s going to pay Johnson’s $2,000 fine for being ejected, plus whatever he’s hit with for defending him.
“It was just instincts, instincts of a brother, instincts of a teammate who cares,” Johnson said of why he ran to Whiteside’s defense. “We’re building something here, and he was being aggressive and physical. Whiteside went down and that’s all I remember after that.”
Here’s the play:
“I don’t play the game of basketball to try to hurt somebody,” Prince said, via the Atlanta Journal-Consitution‘s Chris Vivalamore. “I was just doing what my coach told me to do and that was to put Whiteside on the line and not give him anything easy. That’s what I did.”
You can be the judge of whether or not this was a dirty play. It’s difficult to stop a guy as powerful as Whiteside from getting a shot up without fouling him hard, but the way he yanked him down, the officials pretty clearly made the right call. It wasn’t necessarily intentional, but it was unnecessary, especially given the time and score.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Heat’s Hassan Whiteside calls Hawks’ Taurean Prince ‘fake tough guy’