Hassan Whiteside dominant in Miami Heat’s season finale

Apr 12, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) slam dunks during the second half against the Washington Wizards at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 110-102. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 12, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) slam dunks during the second half against the Washington Wizards at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 110-102. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Hassan Whiteside and the Miami Heat went down swinging with a win that turned out to be their season finale.

Welcome to the Hot Hand, where after every Miami Heat game win or loss we recognize the player who best put his stamp on the game.

Despite coming up short in making the playoffs, the Miami Heat at the same time had no shortage of admirers.

Hassan Whiteside posted 24 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks as the Heat wound up their season with a win over the Washington Wizards. Tied with the Chicago Bulls, the Heat were eliminated due to losing their season series to the Bulls, 2-1.

Whiteside was again his dominant self, controlling the paint in a manner which has evolved as the season has progressed. This game completed a dominant five-game stretch for Whiteside, in which he has averaged 20.4 points, 15.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 32.5 minutes per game. For the season, Whiteside finished with averages of 17.0 points and 14.1 rebounds per game, both a career-high.

The Wizards contest saw Whiteside opposed to Wizards’ starting center, Marcin Gortat. Despite Gortat registering 16 points and five rebounds, he finished with a -11 whilst on the floor. In contrast, Whiteside was a +10 in his 31 minutes on the court.

But the clearest indication of Whiteside’s importance in the game is comparing the numbers when he was on and off the floor.

Offensive Rating – Heat points per 100 possessions

On Court: 120.7

Off Court: 99.1

Defensive Rating – Wizards points per 100 possessions

On Court: 102.3

Off Court: 113.8

https://twitter.com/MiamiHEAT/status/852332535338192896

To post a 30-11 record in the second half of the season, having started with an 11-30 record, is a remarkable achievement for the Heat. Whiteside’s development over this period of time has been very noteworthy. Despite his block numbers dropping from 3.7 to 2.1 per game this season, Whiteside’s defensive intelligence and overall feel for the game has improved markedly. And this latest performance was another example of his rapid development.

Unfortunately for all involved with the Heat, this puts an end to an extremely memorable season.

Finishing the season with a 30-11 record, which included a scintillating 13-game winning streak, gives the organisation as a whole a tremendous amount to look forward to.

Still just 28 at the beginning of next season, Whiteside has clearly demonstrated that he has much more improvement left in his overall game. Like the rest of the Heat roster, Whiteside took some time in adjusting to a host of new faces that were introduced this past offseason.

Next: 2016-17 Heat among most impressive teams in franchise history

And now with a somewhat sudden end to their season, their will be several teams in this year’s playoffs breathing a sigh of relief that the Heat’s playoff hopes came up short.

So for the final game of the 2016/17 season, Hassan Whiteside is the Miami Heat’s Hot Hand.