Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside complained about his playing time in their 95-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets Friday (November 3). Whiteside missed five straight games due to a bone bruise in his knee that he sustained in their 116-109 season-opening loss to the Indiana Pacers where he tallied the first 20-20 performance of the season with 26 points and 22 rebounds. In his return on November 1 against the Chicago Bulls, Whiteside played 26 minutes, scoring 13 points and grabbing 14 boards in their 97-91 win. However, he expressed frustration over his lack of minutes in their close loss to the Nuggets, where he played just 24 minutes.

Whiteside scored 13 points and grabbed just three boards. Four teammates even played longer than Whiteside, with Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters seeing action for 34 and 33 minutes, respectively. “I don't know, man,” Whiteside told Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I think I'm on a minutes restriction or something. I don't really know what's going on right now.”

Latest loss blamed on bench

Whiteside also expressed frustration about the way the team played against the Nuggets. The Heat went up by nine points in the first quarter but found themselves trailing by nine in the fourth quarter. Whiteside also vented his ire about the reserves for not keeping the energy brought by the starters into the game.

“First quarter we get a big lead, coach takes out the starters, they tie it up and then we're back and forth,” said Whiteside. Waiters echoed Whiteside’s statement, saying the bench should come in with the same energy level as that of the starters to get their rhythm flowing. The Heat had a chance to win the game but Waiters missed a pull-up jumper as time expired.

After the game, Waiters blamed the slippery ball for his miss.

Heat dropped to 3-5

The Heat are now 3-5, fourth in the Southeast Division, after losing four of their last five games. Against the Nuggets, Dragic led the Heat with 23 points and seven assists, while Waiters had 15 points. After missing Wednesday’s win over the Bulls, power forward James Johnson came off the bench to tally 15 points and 10 boards.

Paul Millsap led the Nuggets with 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, and Nikola Jokic added 19 points and 14 boards. Emmanuel Mudiay scored 12 points off the bench, Wilson Chandler had 11, and Gary Harris added 10 as the Nuggets improved to 5-4 on the season after winning four of their last five games.