Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside was conspicuous by his absence in the fourth quarter of Portland’s 121-115 loss to the Utah Jazz on Thursday night. The Blazers themselves are full of praise for reserve center Skal Labissiere, but down in Jazz-land, they’re taking the opposite tack: panning Whiteside.
Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune headed up his reaction to the win with a video breakdown of Portland’s schemes against the Jazz, most of which cast Whiteside in a poor light.
Larsen began by quoting Damian Lillard claiming that Whiteside was the “best defensive center, shot-blocking center in the league”. He then cited Jazz center Rudy Gobert offering this post-game rejoinder:
“He should have told his coach to put him in in the end, then,” Rudy Gobert said postgame.
After that, the gloves came off.
...the Jazz attacked Whiteside in pick and roll time and time again, taking advantage of the big man’s lack of mobility and the ease in which he is fooled. They did that with Joe Ingles, who scored 14 points in the first six minutes of the game.
[insert video of Whiteside not reacting to an Ingles layup]
That is... an uncontested layup, without much doing.
You can read more fiery language about Portland’s defense in the article. Suffice it to say, Larsen was less than complimentary. On a night when the Blazers gave up 121 while digging a 23-point hole for themselves, it might be deserved.