Heat’s Hassan Whiteside on his disappearing game: ‘Coach wants me to just be in the corner and set picks’

The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside fights for position under the basket against the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid during the first quarter of Philadelphia’s Game 3 victory. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)

MIAMI – Hassan Whiteside’s frustration is mounting

The Heat’s 7-foot big man was asked what has happened this series after taking one shot and scoring five points in just 13 minutes of the Heat’s 128-108 Game 3 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday.

“It’s just different, man,” he said. “I feel like our offense is a lot different. I’m not as involved in as many dribble hand-offs as I was and post ups as I was in the regular season.

“That’s what coach wants. Coach wants me to just be in the corner and set picks. That’s what he wants. I’ve just got to trust it.”

Whiteside’s only basket, and shot, in Game 3 came on a lob from Dwyane Wade with 8:41 to play in the game. He not only was ineffective offensively, but contributed just two rebounds while committing four fouls.

Whiteside is averaging 3.7 points and 4.0 rebounds for the series while shooting 3 of 7. He has played 41 minutes.

And Spoelstra seems as confused as Whiteside on how to get the $98 million man involved.

“He might not necessarily put up the numbers, but it’s part of my job – to figure it out and figure out how he can get to his strengths and be an impact player for us,” Spoelstra said. “It starts with the defense, the rebounding. It’s a lot of responsibilities for us offensively. I’ll spend some time working that out in the next day in a half.”

Wade was asked about the message he will send Whiteside.

“Come in tomorrow and learn from it and get ready to play Game 4.”

Whiteside referenced his minutes when asked about the lack of rebounding. Whiteside led the league in rebounding in 2016-17 with 14.1 per game and this season averaged 11.4 rebounds.

“Yeah, I want to get more rebounds out there,” he said. “I want to get more minutes out there. I’m just going to keep trusting coach’s decision making. Even with the fouls, I still could have been out there. I wouldn’t have fouled out. I am going to keep trusting coach’s decision making.

Whiteside has been in foul trouble in two of three games in the series. He has nine fouls in the three games.

“Last game, it was a couple screens,” he said. “I talked to the guards. They said they should have waited on a couple of screens. It’s frustrating sometimes when you’re playing physical and coach wants you to play physical and then you get in foul trouble.

“I could have stayed down on the pump fake here and there. I watched the film, other the one I jumped for the pump fake, I didn’t really see no other fouls.”

All-Star center Joel Embiid returned to the Sixers lineup after missing 10 games because of a fractured orbital bone and scored a team-high 23 points while pulling down seven rebounds. Embiid was active enough to get to the line 15 times, making 10. Embiid, who wore a protective mask, played 30 minutes.

“They run enough plays for him that he’s going to get his numbers,” Whiteside said. “I don’t really get caught up in that.

“He lives a big man’s dream. He gets the ball, he gets the post up every other play. They pretty much run a lot of stuff through him and Ben Simmons. His shot attempts are going to be there.”

Whiteside was asked what more he can do.

“I’m trying to figure that out right now,” he said. “I guess I just got to try to score on offensive rebounds maybe and keep running the floor and try to get alley oops but other than that it’s a lot different, it’s a lot different than the regular season.”

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