Miami Heat veteran Dewayne Dedmon is facing calls to be cut from the NBA team, after tossing a massage gun onto the floor amid a reported dispute with head coach Erik Spoelstra. The 33-year-old was ejected from the Heat's clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder, a game in which they would only narrowly prevail.
Dedmon was tossed out early in the second quarter, seemingly incensed by an early benching. As he made his way towards the bench he was seen arguing with not only Spoelstra, but several assistant coaches. He then smacked a chair so hard it sent the massage gun sitting on it to go flying onto the court in the middle of play.
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Fans highlighted a defensive play for the Heat in which they gave up an easy layup to the Thunder as a potential catalyst for Dedmon's benching. However everyone was mystified by what happened next, with ESPN analyst Stan van Gundy describing the incident as 'inexcusable'.
His ejection left the already shorthanded Heat down another player, as the Josh Giddey-led Thunder gave them a real run for their money on their home court. The Heat eventually wrestled a 112-111 win from the contest.
“I really don’t care if he’s upset – players can get upset. Granted, players can yell at coaches, I don’t have a problem with that in the heat of the moment," Van Gundy said.
“Especially on a night when you’ve got nine guys, you can’t do this. You can’t do anything to get ejected from the game when you’re already as shorthanded as the Heat are. That’s inexcusable.”
ESPN's sideline reporter, Stephanie Ready, explained that other Heat veterans were trying to defuse the situation before the massage gun was sent flying in frustration. Dedmon, a 10-year NBA veteran, has played for seven different teams.
“I was watching during that last stoppage of play during that timeout and Dedmon was having a verbal argument with some of the staff including Caron Butler. Udonis Haslem was trying to step in and calm things down,” Ready reported.
“I don’t know exactly what escalated the conversation, but it was very heated – I could tell from this distance. When he stormed off, that was what you saw, the result of his frustration with whatever that conversation was.”
Miami Heat outlast OKC despite ejection, Josh Giddey explosion
Giddey, who last season broke the NBA record for youngest player to score a triple-double, finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. The Heat shot at only 39.2 per cent from the field but their precision from the charity stripe had them in the contest; Miami broke the NBA record, set 40 years ago, for most free throws made in a game without a miss.
The Heat sunk 40, one more than the Utah Jazz made against the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1982-83 season, with forward Jimmy Butler contributing 23 of those. Ironically, it was two missed free throws by the Thunder that helped seal their demise.
The Thunder were up 111-109 with 22.3 seconds on the clock when Kenrich Williams stepped to the stripe and missed both his attempts. Victor Oladipo forced a Thunder turnover and found Butler (35 points, three blocks, four steals), who was fouled as he made the lay-up that tied the game.
Earlier, MVP candidate Joel Embiid scored 36 points on his return from foot soreness as the Philadelphia 76ers thrashed the Detroit Pistons 147-116. Australian Matisse Thybulle managed four points, a block and a steal from limited time on the floor for the Sixers.
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