Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside was suspended for one game without pay Thursday by the NBA for a flagrant foul that got him ejected in Tuesday night’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Whiteside was whistled for a “Flagrant 2” foul after he threw his right elbow and made contact with Spurs backup center Boban Marjanovic as the two jostled for position during a free-throw attempt by the Spurs’ Patty Mills with 9:35 left in the game. It was Whiteside’s first ejection of the season and his third since joining the Heat in December 2014.
Whiteside will serve the suspension when the Heat (29-24) resumes play after the All-Star break. Miami’s first game is at Atlanta on Feb. 19.
A Flagrant 2 results in an automatic ejection but is reviewed by the league to determine if it also warrants a suspension. Whiteside, known for losing his temper at times on the court, had remained virtually trouble-free this season before Tuesday night’s incident.
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After the game, Heat teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade expressed support for Whiteside but were concerned about the center’s ability to maintain his poise.
“I think the next step for him is really learning about reputation,” Bosh said. “Unfortunately, he’s taken a step back. You have to build your reputation back up.”
Said Wade: “I think the one thing with Hassan is sometimes he goes quiet, he goes to himself a lot. So as his teammates sometimes it’s hard to know what he’s thinking.”
Whiteside was not available for comment after the game because the Heat sent him home before opening the locker room to the media.
Whiteside, who leads the league in blocked shots (3.9 per game) and is fifth in rebounding (11.0), stands to earn a lucrative, long-term contract after this season. But Tuesday’s incident raised questions again about his maturity and whether the Heat will make that investment.