Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside was ejected from Monday night's matchup with the Boston Celtics after receiving a flagrant foul-2 for this blindside tackle on Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter:
Whiteside had missed a layup on the preceding Heat possession and was slow getting back on defense. After a Brandon Bass dunk gave Boston a 66-58 lead, Olynyk met Whiteside at the foul line and put a forearm into him as Miami moved the ball around the perimeter. Whiteside took exception, getting an elbow up high on Olynyk as the two tangled near the free-throw line.
As Miami guard Mario Chalmers drove to the basket, Olynyk slid toward the baseline to cut off his path. Then, all of a sudden, in came Whiteside with a full head of steam to clean out the former Gonzaga star with a high forearm to the back of the neck.
Here's another look:
The referees reviewed the play, decided Whiteside's contact met the "unnecessary and excessive" descriptor that goes with a flagrant-2, and gave the 25-year-old center the gate. He finished with seven points on 2-for-6 shooting and nine rebounds in just under 22 minutes of floor time.
This is Whiteside's second ejection in less than a week, with the first coming for wrestling Alex Len during Miami's win over the Phoenix Suns last Tuesday. Whiteside received a $15,000 fine for that escapade, and he'll pay another penalty for this early exit:
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With that Whiteside's second ejection of the season, the fine is $4,000. He is now up to $40,000 in NBA fines this season.
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) March 10, 2015
Whiteside spent the first four years of his professional career as something of a nomad, failing to stick with the Sacramento Kings and spending several seasons in the D-League before heading overseas for stints in Lebanon and China before returning stateside for another D-League run this year. He's has been a revelation for Miami over the past 2 1/2 months, finding a home with the Heat by rebounding at historic levels, protecting the rim like an elite interior defender and dunking everything he can get his hands on.
But while his remarkable post-Christmas play — 13 points on 63.1 percent shooting, 11.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game over 28 appearances — has made him a top candidate for Most Improved Player honors and a critical part of the Heat's playoff push, he has at times shown some of the struggles with maturity and decision-making that had dogged him earlier in his career. This, it seems, would quality, and you'd suspect that there's a very good chance that Whiteside will hear from the league about additional discipline for his cheap shot on Olynyk come Tuesday.
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