When the final buzzer sounded at American Airlines Arena on Tuesday night, Hassan Whiteside was not with the rest of his team.
He was in the locker room.
The Miami Heat center left the bench and went to the locker room by himself with less than a minute to go in their 105-90 loss to the Orlando Magic. Whiteside recorded just 12 points and nine rebounds in the loss — the majority of which came in the first quarter. He didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter, either.
Coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game he had yet to receive an answer as to why Whiteside had left early, but speculated that he was “probably extremely upset, like we all are.” The Heat have opened the season with a 9-14 record, and have lost three of their last five games.
Whiteside, though, claims his early departure wasn’t out of anger. It was done out of necessity.
“I had to go to the bathroom,” Whiteside said Wednesday, via the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I was just holding it. It’s not the first time I left the bench to go to the bathroom, but I think the situation kind of made it a bigger deal — we were down 15, I guess. That’s what it was.”
The explanation, though, wasn’t good enough for Spoelstra.
“It’s totally unacceptable behavior by Hassan,” Spoelstra told the Sun-Sentinel Wednesday. “We handled it as a team in the locker room.”
While it might seem unrealistic that Whiteside couldn’t have waited for another 40 seconds for the game to end, the 29-year-old said he simply couldn’t hold it anymore.
“I didn’t know it was going to be as big of a deal as it was. I couldn’t hold it. My stomach was bothering me,” Whiteside told the Sun Sentinel. “Maybe I would’ve just — I don’t know — I would’ve tried to hold even longer. I don’t know. I tried to hold it as long as I could.
“But I had to go to the bathroom. I’m sorry if that makes me a bad guy.”
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