Ira Winderman

Ira Winderman (September 30, 2014)

March 15, 2015

Q: I know everyone's focus has been squarely on Hassan Whiteside's maturity and temper in reacting to non-calls and getting hit, I get that. But from my point of view, I see a guy who is constantly getting hit in the face or upper body (that would generally qualify as excessive contact) and isn't receiving the proper calls, repeatedly. Sometimes it is as if the referees are blatantly ignoring and disregarding the hits he takes. Kyle Lowry lowered his shoulder and did nearly the same thing as Whiteside had done to Kelly Olynyk a few days prior, sending Whiteside hard to the floor with the referee in perfect position to see the entire event unfold. Whiteside gets a Flagrant 2; Kyle Lowry gets possession of the ball. I'm sitting here wondering why there is such a disparity between the refereeing. I'm also wishing Birdman and Udonis Haslem were a bit younger and still able to play the role of enforcer. All the hard hits to Goran Dragic and Whiteside should be repaid in kind, before it starts to get out of hand. It's like every team has had free reign to commit hard fouls on them without much penalty. DeMarcus Cousins got away with so many elbows I stopped counting. Dragic took a hard elbow to the face and the Raptors got free throws. Is it time they start protecting themselves and hit back? The referees certainly aren't protecting them if they don't. -- Chris, Huntington Beach, Calif.

A: I agreed that the non-call on Lowry was egregious. But I also think it was a case of Tom Washington clearly not seeing the play. I'm not sold that the Heat take more abuse than other teams. And it actually says something positive about Whiteside and Dragic that they are willing to stick their noses into such situations. As for enforcers, it's difficult for Haslem to get involved when he can't get off the bench. I simply don't see the Heat in position to retaliate when their priority has to be on winning games. I think with more time in the league, Whiteside will start getting more respect.

Q: I no liking the body language of Hassan Whiteside when he thinks he got fouled. He is always the last one get into position for offense. To me it looks like he is developing an attitude. I hope this is not his ceiling? He has potential to be great. -- Marcos, Coral Gables.

A: And that's a problem, when both Whiteside and Wade are lagging behind the plays arguing calls. With this team's position of desperation, the effort and hustle has to reach another level. And that has to start on the defensive end with both Wade and Whiteside.

Q: Why is Henry Walker jacking up countless shots when he's shooting under 30 percent, and Whiteside barely gets any plays run through him when he's the most effective player not named Wade or Dragic? Is Erik Spoelstra stuck on small ball and can't change his ways? -- Andre, Miami.

A: I agree that the Heat have been taking the shots the opposition wants and not necessarily the ones they need. At least Wade was candid after the loss in Toronto, when he said he should have been more aggressive. I think getting into the offense quicker also would help.