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Whiteside Lifts Game After TNT Criticism

After a disappointing first half against the Clippers, a few NBA legends saw fit to tear Hassan Whiteside’s game apart. The Blazers center responded on the court and later in the locker room.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Hassan Whiteside has arguably been the most divisive addition to the Portland Trail Blazers in the early days of this new season. Arriving in Portland after wearing out his welcome in South Beach, Whiteside has both put up gaudy numbers while also experiencing lapses in effort and savvy for seconds and sometimes minutes on the floor.

During his first half against the Los Angeles Clippers last night, Whiteside was bested by young NBA big man Ivica Zubac who put together 11 points and 9 rebounds by halftime. At that point, Whiteside had tallied just two points.

During the nationally televised TNT Halftime Report, Shaquille O’Neill, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith went to town on Whiteside, criticising his ability, court awareness and effort.

O’Neil threw the gauntlet down to Whiteside.

“If this is your contract year, ball out, play with effort ... tonight he’s playing with no effort.”

“Whiteside got to pick it up if he’s trying to get new money.”

Barkley went even further, questioning his commitment and effort, suggesting he has not made an acceptable effort since signing his last contract with the Miami Heat in 2016.

“He got that money in Miami and then packed it in and the Blazers were stupid enough to take him ... he hasn’t played with effort for years.

“He only has one good game out of four, that’s not an NBA professional.”

“He’s going to the bank twice a month and his stealing money.”

Smith questioned whether Whiteside understands his own strengths and how to best help his team win.

“I think there’s a difference between effort and know-how.”

“I don’t know if he knows what his strengths are.”

After the main break, Whiteside came out a different player, finishing the game with 17 points and 19 rebounds, nine of which were offensive, in 27 minutes of action.

Whether he was aware of the half time comments at the time is unknown, but he appeared to be a different player, helping fuel the resurgent Blazers to take the lead by three-quarter time.

Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get Portland over the line, with the Blazers losing 101-107.

After the game, Whiteside was asked what he thought about the damning comments, responding that any player averaging a double-double was clearly putting in effort.

Whiteside will get another chance to prove himself tonight when the Blazers host the Brooklyn Nets at the Moda Center.