The emergence of Hassan Whiteside off the Miami Heat bench isn’t a one-time occurrence. This is a big man with some exceptional athletic abilities, all on display as he put on an impressive points-rebounds-blocks triple double, the first of his career, in a 96-84 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Whiteside played only 25 minutes, but finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocks. Of those 12, five were on Taj Gibson alone, the first time Gibson has been blocked five times by the same player. It is the first triple double to include 10 blocks in less than 25 minutes since blocks were first tracked in 1973-1974, it is the first time a player has a 12-12-12 triple double with blocks since Shawn Bradley in the 1997-1998 season and it’s also only the third triple double in the shot clock era achieved in under 25 minutes, trailing only Russell Westbrook, with the OKC point guard needing 20 minutes to do it last season.
The Chicago Bulls continue to mess up at home against inferior teams. Having Joakim Noah back in the lineup and Kirk Hinrich once again on the bench didn’t seem to make a difference. A momentum shift occurred in the first quarter when Whiteside came on to play, blocking the Bulls three times in the restricted area in final five minutes of the quarter. The Bulls shot only 35.6% from the field overall, with their big men struggling more than anyone, but there wasn’t a single player on the team to shoot even 50% from the field.
With Whiteside doing so well defensively and any other opportunity he had near the rim, which included grabbing six offensive rebounds, the Heat also enjoyed a very good offensive performance from the players they need each time. Dwyane Wade led the way with 26 points, followed by Chris Bosh with 20 points and 7 rebounds, Mario Chalmers scoring 15 and Luol Deng playing quite well against his former team, scoring 15 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 19 points, but he struggled making anything happen from beyond the arc. The Bulls shot just 29.2% from the outside, unable to open up the floor and generate consistently and consecutively good shots from the perimeter. Rose was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc and Jimmy Butler made only 2-of-8 from the field, scoring 5 points in his worst performance of the season. Aaron Brooks and Nikola Mirotic combining to shoot 6-of-9 from 3-point range was about the only thing working well for the Bulls offensively.
The Heat are making up for all their previous losses and like the Bulls are doing better when playing on the road. With Whiteside coming off as a bolt of size and energy off the bench the rotation gets a bit more quality injected into it after struggling finding ways beyond Wade and Bosh to put some spark into this team. It’s hard seeing the Heat contending for anything in the East, but without injuries or fatigue to key players, they should be moving up quite nicely up the standings in the East, and arrive at .500 pretty soon.
The Bulls continue to be one of the most perplexing team in the land. Their energy and effort levels, at least from what we can attest to, seem to differ at an alarming rate from game to game. Maybe they need another talk through from Derrick Rose to get back on track, but there has to be a different answer to their motivational problems which doesn’t include the team’s point guard calling out his teammates after every loss.