Erik Spoelstra: Hassan Whiteside Leaving Heat Bench Was 'Unacceptable Behavior'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2018

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 25:  Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat looks on during the first half of an NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on November 25, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Miami Heat big man Hassan Whiteside turned heads Tuesday when he left the bench for the locker room in the closing stretch of a 105-90 loss to the Orlando Magic instead of waiting for the final buzzer. 

Head coach Erik Spoelstra called the move "unacceptable behavior" and noted the team handled things internally, per David Furones of the Sun Sentinel.

Whiteside managed 12 points and nine rebounds while shooting 6-of-7 from the field during the game, but he didn't play in the fourth quarter.

According to ESPN.com, Dwyane Wade said 29-year-old veteran left the bench to use the restroom, but Spoelstra said he was "probably extremely upset like we all are." The coach suggested "everybody, if they're angry, frustrated, pissed, funnel it into the team until we get the changes that we want right now."

Miami is just 9-14 this season after making the playoffs in 2017-18 and has struggled to establish any consistency.

Whiteside is averaging 13.5 points and 13.7 rebounds a night as a double-double threat every time he steps on the floor, but this isn't the first time he has drawn the ire of the team. The Heat fined him in April for complaining about his playing time near the end of last season.

"A lot of teams don't have a good center," he said at the time, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. "They are going to use their strengths. It's bull [expletive]. It's really bull [expletive], man. There are a lot of teams that can use a center. [Expletive]. That's one of them. That's bull [expletive]."

Whiteside played 25.3 minutes per game last season and has averaged 26.9 minutes a night in his first 22 games of 2018-19.

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