White­side crunch­ing boards

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Ira Win­der­man

MI­AMI — Ap­par­ently, Has­san White­side eats boards for break­fast.

At least that’s the per­spec­tive of team­mate Kelly Olynyk af­ter watch­ing White­side join Rony Seikaly as only the sec­ond player in the Mi­ami Heat’s 31 sea­sons to grab 20 re­bounds in con­sec­u­tive games.

“It’s pretty unique, hon­estly,” Olynyk said, with the Heat play­ing the Washington Wiz­ards on Satur­day night at Amer­i­canAir­lines Arena. “I mean, I haven’t played with a lot of guys who just go and get 20 re­bounds like it’s eat­ing Cap’n Crunch in the morn­ing.”

Af­ter grab­bing 20 re­bounds in Wed­nes­day’s vic­tory over the San An­to­nio Spurs, White­side se­cured an­other 20 in Fri­day’s loss to the In­di­ana Pac­ers.

White­side’s third 20-re­bound game of the sea­son put him at 18 with the Heat, three shy of Seikaly’s fran­chise record. It was the first time he did so in con­sec­u­tive games, some­thing Seikaly did four times, twice in 1991 and twice in 1993.

Coach Erik Spoel­stra said it was the off­sea­son work held out of view of me­dia and fans that has pro­duced these re­sults.

“He re­ally pre­pared for this sea­son this summer,” Spoel­stra said. “And at train­ing camp and pre­sea­son prac­tices, he had quite a few per­for­mances like this, where we were the only ones that saw it.

“You keep on bring­ing that type of en­ergy and fo­cus ev­ery day, then even­tu­ally that just be­comes who you are.”

White­side has stated a goal of mak­ing it back home to Char­lotte as a first-time Al­lS­tar, go­ing onto the week­end lead­ing the league in blocked shots and sec­ond in re­bound­ing.

“I’m work­ing. That’s what coach wants from me. He wants me to get ev­ery re­bound,” he said. “I’m just col­lect­ing the balls, try­ing to get the break started.”

Some­times at a cost to team­mates — in a good way.

“It’s im­pec­ca­ble, what he’s do­ing,” Olynyk said. “I’m strug­gling out there to get like four or five re­bounds be­cause he’s just gob­bling ev­ery­thing up. You have good re­bound­ers Heat cetner Has­san White­side is re­bound­ing at a record pace.

who re­bound and make an ex­tra ef­fort, then you have great re­bound­ers that re­bound and re­bound out­side of their area. That’s what he’s get­ting to, is an elite-level re­bounder.

“And he’s re­bound­ing ba­si­cally a whole 15-foot cir­cle around the bas­ket. Any­thing that lands within 15 feet of the bas­ket is his re­bound. And it’s pretty crazy to see. But it’s some­thing that’s mak­ing us re­ally tough. Hope­fully he can keep that up on both ends of the floor.”

Rare pair: Satur­day’s game con­cluded just the 20th set of back-to-back home games for the Heat. The Heat en­tered the set hav­ing swept such a pair­ing of home games on con­sec­u­tive nights six times, hav­ing split nine times and hav­ing been swept four times.

The Heat also will play home games on con­sec­u­tive nights Feb. 1 against the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der and Feb. 2 against the Pac­ers. This is just the sixth sea­son that the Heat have been sched­uled for mul­ti­ple sets of home games on con­sec­u­tive nights.

Con­trast­ing view: Nei­ther Pac­ers for­ward Thad­deus Young nor In­di­ana coach Nate McMil­lan thought Young de­served his ejec­tion for a third-quar­ter Fla­grant 2 foul Fri­day night against Olynyk.

“I went over him and hit him with the in­side of my el­bow,” Young said. “If I was try­ing to hit him, I would have con­nected with the out­side of my el­bow. I think it was a bad call be­cause all I did was pivot.”

Said McMil­lan, “Olynyk was guard­ing him re­ally tight and his el­bow just came down on him. There­fore, I didn’t think that was an in­ten­tional foul where he was look­ing to take Olynyk out in that play. As Thadd said him­self, he was look­ing at the play and try­ing to ex­e­cute. He wasn’t in­ten­tion­ally try­ing to take Olynyk out. Hope­fully they look at that and they don’t fine him for that.”

PE­DRO POR­TAL/MI­AMI HER­ALD

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